Upper West Siders Spend Halloween at the Polls

Sabrina Blum’s kids give candies to voters waiting in line.

Rather than taking her kids trick or treating this Halloween, Sabrina Blum brought them to hand out Halloween candy to their fellow Upper West Siders on the second to last day of early voting.

“They can’t vote, obviously,” said Blum, who cast her ballot for Biden. “But there are other ways they can get involved and be part of democracy in action.”

The Dave Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is one of 16 early voting sites in Manhattan. Voters wore hats and heavy coats in the line snaking around the block to vote. Their hands were shoved in their pockets to protect against the cold.

As of Friday evening, almost 200,000 people had cast their early votes in Manhattan alone.

Many of those lined up on Oct. 31 believed that it was their duty to vote for a brighter future.

Blum’s kids, ages 9, 6, and 3, who picked out their own costumes, were excited to hand out Halloween candy to the voters. Behind her, her daughter, dressed as Ariel, asked those in line if they want candy.

A stay-at-home mom, Blum and her husband had already voted and talk a lot about politics at home. But she thinks it’s important the children help out during the election to reinforce the importance of political action.

Steve Held also has hopes for the future based on this election. He believes that it’s the most pivotal election of his lifetime and that no other election comes close. A supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden, Held said the environment is his leading concern.

“You really can’t protect the foundation of anything you’re interested in if you don’t have a habitat,” said Held.

While in line, he took a coffee for himself and a hot chocolate and — against her protests — a cookie for his companion from London Long-Wheeler, who was dressed up like Prince Zuko from the cartoon Avatar the Last Airbender with a bright red fake scar under her mask.

Long-Wheeler works as a server at P.J. Clarke’s business around the block from the polling site, where the line wraps around. Loud music played from her table, which was stocked with free hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, Halloween candy and hand sanitizer for voters as they waited to cast their ballot.

Long-Wheeler plans to vote for Joe Biden, as well. She lost several family members to coronavirus and thinks that Biden will help make a better future for New York City and the country.

            “I think they’ll actually listen to science,” said Long-Wheeler.

London Long-Wheeler, left, hands out coffee to voters.

Correction: Sabrina Blum’s name was misspelled in the original story.

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Jemma Stephenson grew up in southern Virginia and recently graduated from Smith College
with a degree in English language and literature.
Twitter: @JK_Stephenson

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