All over the country, voters are anecdotally reporting incredibly long lines–and data backs them up. A real-time visualization of Google search data shows that searches related to “long wait times” are spiking all over the country.
According to the map, which was built by Google News Initiative and Pitch Interactive, it’s not just your polling place that’s overrun with people. For instance, at 11:53 a.m., the national average of people Googling “long wait times” spiked by 481% in Bluffton, South Carolina. At 12:24 p.m., that search was skyrocketing by 566% in Newburgh, Indiana. An animation starting at 6 a.m. Eastern Time shows these spikes hitting dozens if not hundreds of polling places around the country, especially around 1 p.m. Eastern–lunch time–and morning on the West Coast.
Line at my polling place is double the length it was in 2016. I have this weird feeling, like there’s air in my lungs for the first time in … a long time.
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) November 6, 2018
While some see this as a positive indication that more people turned out to vote in this election, others call the long wait times another means of voter suppression. After all, not everyone has the luxury to stand in line for hours to cast their vote.
A reminder that long lines at the polls are a sign not of a healthy democracy, but of insufficient funding for polling locations that makes it harder to vote, especially if your job isn’t flexible.
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 6, 2018
Whether you view it as a sign of hope or a sign of all the work that still needs to be done, do your best to stay in line. Even if the polls close while you’re waiting, you will still get a chance to vote.