For Brooklyn voter Alonso Sealey, what was supposed to be a democratic right instead became a major inconvenience this Election Day.
Sealey spent two hours in two different lines at P.S. 91 in Crown Heights before being given a referral slip to cast his ballot at another school about a mile away.
"I've been coming to this polling place for years. Why is it changed now?" he said.
Making matters worse, Sealey said he voted just earlier this year at P.S. 91 on Albany Avenue in the federal primary. Now he said he had no choice but to try his luck later Tuesday at another polling location.
Sealey wasn't alone in his frustration at the polls.
Lines snaked around the block at P.S. 20 on Adelphi Street. One voter tweeted about an hour-long wait with a four different unmarked lines at P.S. 11 on Waverly Avenue earlier Tuesday. And another voter said via Facebook that the wait at Kingsbridge Community Center stretched for as long as two hours.
It seemed that those who got to polls early fared the best.
"I got there at about 8 a.m. and was out by about 8:30," P.S. 270 voter Sarah Bloomquist wrote. "Slight line but nothing crazy. Cool to watch everyone voting!"
Others, like Sealey, weren't so lucky.
In a system instituted across New York State since the last Presidential election, voters must now go to a registration table to get a scannable paper ballot. If their name is found on the voter rolls, they are given the ballot to bring to a table and then to a machine to be scanned and counted.
The result Tuesday has often been long lines, confusion and throngs of voters heading in several different directions.
Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a briefing Tuesday on Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts acknowledged the difficulties many voters were facing.
"I kept hearing, 'What's this, a third world country?'" Bloomberg said, referring to voters at polling sites.
It was a sentiment that had plenty of adherents amidst the chaos at P.S. 91.
"There's got to be a better way to do this," said Crown Heights voter Loretta Dawkins.