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A few voters stood outside the ARCH voting location less than an hour before the polls were set to close in PA. Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

This story was last updated at 6:24 p.m. on Nov. 3. Please check back for new updates.

With over 1,000 total ballots counted, Houston Hall, ARCH, and Walnut Street West Library have no lines and few voters within the past hour

Updated at 6:24 p.m. on Nov. 3

Houston Hall has reported that 501 ballots have been cast, and ARCH and Walnut Street West Library are reporting 239 and 332 votes, respectively.

The total ballot counts include in-person voting today as well as mail-in ballot drop offs.

Over the past hour, lines have remained nonexistent as they were for much of the day. Poll workers at Houston Hall said they only had about three voters between 5 and 6 p.m.

A breakdown of how many voters cast their ballots for Biden and Trump at each of the three locations will be posted by around 8:30 p.m. 

— Staff reporters Tori Sousa, Ece Yildirim, and Jonah Charlton

More than 300 ballots cast at Penn Alexander School

Updated at 5:32 p.m. on Nov. 3

More than 140 people have voted in person at Penn Alexander School today as of 5:00 p.m., Penn Democrats President and College senior Owen Voutsinas-Klose told the DP.

Voutsinas-Klose said Penn Alexander has also received over 160 mail-in votes for a total of over 300 votes. He said the current count totals are exceeding turnout at Penn Alexander from 2016.

"It's been really cool to see the machines operate and to see people waiting to have their voices heard," he said. "It's very heartening. I'm just very excited about the election."

— Staff reporters Jintong Wu and Jonah Charlton

One Penn student's Election Day: tabling for nearly nine hours, then working the NBC Decision Desk 

Updated at 3:31 p.m. on Nov. 3

College senior Bayley Tuch, a campus ambassador for the Biden campaign, has been tabling at the corner of 40th and Walnut streets since 7:30 a.m.

Tuch said when she first arrived at the corner there was a line of about 50 voters gathered outside the polling place. Once the original line cleared through, she said voters have been arriving in a “slow trickle" with nearly no line all day. 

Tuch and a number of other volunteers have been handing out snacks and stickers, reminding people that it is Election Day, calling Lyfts to the polls, and asking people to "triple their vote" by texting three friends and telling them to vote.

Tuch said she plans to table until 4 p.m., when she will begin working at the NBC Decision Desk for her fellowship with the Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.

— Staff reporter Hannah Gross

ARCH turnout on pace to exceed 2016 vote totals

Updated at 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 3

Judge of Elections Daniel Flaumenhaft told the DP that turnout at ARCH is on track to surpass the total number of ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.

Credit: Jintong Wu

A voter prepares registration with a volunteer before entering the ARCH polling site. 


Flaumenhaft, who has served as judge of elections at ARCH for the past 12 years, said most votes were cast within the first 30 minutes after the polls opened at 7 a.m. and that the flow of voters has slowed down significantly since then.

A final vote count at Houston Hall will be reported at 8 p.m.

— Staff reporter Hannah Gross

Turnout from 2016 already surpassed at Walnut Street West Library

Updated at 2:35 p.m. on Nov. 3

Two hundred ninety-one votes have been cast at the Walnut Street West Library. 

Credit: Amy Guo

Votes cast in the Walnut Street West Library have already passed the 2016 turnout. 

Votes cast in Divisions 5, 8, and 9 in the 27th ward surpassed the total vote in the 2016 presidential election by 11 a.m, first-time poll worker Jerry Coleman said. 

Since then, votes have been coming in at a much slower pace, with only seven votes cast between 1 and 2 p.m.

— Staff reporter Hannah Gross

No lines outside Houston Hall, noticeable enthusiasm for Biden among students

Updated at 1:38 p.m. on Nov. 3

College junior Mira Potter-Schwartz has been standing outside of the Houston Hall polling location for two hours talking to voters about why they should support Biden. Despite there being no line at Houston Hall at this hour, Potter-Schwartz said she has already engaged with a lot of student voters and seen widespread support for the Democratic nominee.

“There is so much at stake in this election. We need a president who is much stronger with more leadership and more integrity, Potter-Schwartz said. “Biden is definitely that person.”

— Staff reporter Hannah Gross

First-time voters discuss motivations for voting, specifically in Pennsylvania

Updated at 1:25 p.m. on Nov. 3

Wharton senior Rachel Meierovich and Nursing junior Bryn Faulkner walked out of Walnut Street West Library with their heads held high after casting their first ballots in a presidential election.

Meierovich cited 2020 being the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote as her biggest motivator for heading to the polls, adding that voting is both a privilege and a responsibility of being a United States citizen. 

Credit: Gary Lin

She said she hopes to see better healthcare and protections for women and members of the LGBTQ community.

Faulkner agreed and said that as a nursing student, she feels particularly strongly that access to healthcare is an important human right. She chose to vote in Pennsylvania as opposed to in her home of Missouri because she felt that her vote carried more weight in a swing state than in a state that voted for Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016.

— Staff reporter Hadriana Lowenkron

Volunteers outside Houston Hall play music, offer refreshments to excited voters

Updated at 1:11 p.m. on Nov. 3

Ariel Weinbaum, a volunteer with Election Defenders, a progressive coalition that aims to support voters waiting in line at polls, and the Sunrise Movement, an organization focused on creating change within climate change policy, stood outside the exit of the Houston Hall polling place alongside four other volunteers. Volunteers played music and offered refreshments to voters as they exited, and asked them if they are interested in reaching out to friends to vote this Election Day as well.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Though Weinbaum acknowledged that the voting process definitely looks different this year with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, she said that everyone voting [at the Houston Hall polling location] has been “very conscious” about following the precautions, waiting in lines, and interacting with the poll workers volunteering today. She also emphasized the importance of voting in this presidential election.

“I think that this election is extremely crucial, possibly the most crucial in any of our lifetimes,” Weinbaum said. “I just want to make sure that even despite all the weirdness of voting this year, with the pandemic and everything, that every single person who wants to vote gets to vote, and we're just here trying to protect that right for them.”

— Staff reporter Tori Sousa

For some, waiting to vote on Election Day is about the experience

Updated at 1:02 p.m. on Nov. 3

Engineering sophomore Kim Biesinger, who voted in Houston Hall, felt voting in person was crucial to the Election Day experience.

Credit: Gary Lin

Engineering Sophomore Kim Biesinger

“I think it's really important to vote. I hope everybody's voting, if not today then they did before,” she said. “I voted today because I think it's just a cool experience to do so on Election Day, and it was accessible to me so I did it.”

— Staff reporter Hadriana Lowenkron

More than 650 total ballots cast at ARCH, Houston Hall, and Walnut Street West Library thus far

Updated at 12:22 p.m. on Nov. 3

As of 11:43 a.m., 156 ballots have been cast at ARCH — 40 from Philadelphia Division 3 and 116 from Division 19. 

Credit: Chase Sutton

Three of the ten polling booths inside Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.

Dawn Deitch, executive director of the Office of Government and Community Affairs and coordinator of Penn polling places, told The Daily Pennsylvanian that 250 people have voted at Houston Hall at its most recent count, which was at 10:45 a.m.

Two hundred fifty-two people have voted at Walnut Street West Library as of around 12 p.m., 109 from Division 5, 54 from Division 8, and 89 from Division 5. 

— Staff reporters Hadriana Lowenkron and Jonah Charlton

Penn student says on-campus voting is easier than in West Philadelphia 

Updated at 12:22 p.m. on Nov. 3

College junior Cecelia Vieira, who voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, said that while she had a great experience today voting at the Walnut Street West Library, she was disappointed with the difficulty she found in voting in the West Philadelphia community off campus.

Though she waited about an hour and a half this morning, Vieira said that when she tried to vote in person at a West Philadelphia middle school last Tuesday, she waited in line for five hours before leaving once it got dark. People waited as long as seven or eight hours to vote there, she said.

“It's voter suppression on a massive scale,” Vieira said. “While it's great that Penn is doing a lot for the rich, white, non-[Philadelphia] voters, I feel like Penn should lend its resources to allow more West Philadelphia residents to be able to vote so easily. It's great that it was easy for Penn students but it wasn't so easy for the people who actually live here.”

Vieira emphasized the importance of voting in the interest of not only yourself, but of the people who are going to still be living in West Philadelphia in four or five years after students graduate from Penn.

Now that she’s voted, Vieira said that she is feeling a bit nervous about the election results, but she is grateful for the experience she had and takes pride in the act of voting herself.

“I think even the act of voting, for me, as a policy student, is something I find very meaningful. Whenever I do it, I get very emotional, embarrassingly enough,” Vieira added. “I do think voting is something that everyone should do, and for Penn students who graduate and go into politics, it should be a priority to make [voting] more accessible so that everyone can have that experience.”

— Staff reporter Tori Sousa

Penn Democrats assist and encourage voters in finding their polling locations

Updated at 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 3

Penn Democrats volunteers Bonnie Stright, a first-year student at the School of Social Policy and Practice, and College sophomore Jacob Keller stood outside of ARCH and assisted voters in finding their respective polling locations. 

Keller said due to a heavy course load, he personally felt that he had not done enough during the campaigning process. He signed up to volunteer today so he could “feel like [he did] as much as he possibly could” to encourage students to vote in this election.

Credit: Tori Sousa

Jacob Keller (left) and Bonnie Spright (right) from Penn Democrats. 

“I just feel like this is such an important election and there’s so much riding on it, but I want to do as much as I can to try and get out the vote, so that’s why I’m here today,” Stright said, adding that she feels one of the most defining differences in this election is widespread anxiety and fear about what will happen with the results. 

“There’s so much going on right now, and I’ve talked to a lot of people who are really scared about what’s going to happen. Definitely, 2016 didn’t feel as scary as this does,” Stright said. “But being politically engaged and getting out and voting is one of the best ways we can combat this fear.”

— Staff reporter Tori Sousa

ARCH poll running smoothly with short wait times since 10 a.m.  

Updated at 11:58 a.m. on Nov. 3

College senior Anna Lisa Lowenstein, a student poll worker outside of ARCH, said that while there was a long line of voters when the polls opened at 7 a.m., it has been continuously shorter since she arrived at her shift at 10 a.m.

Credit: Gary Lin

College junior Jaden Cloobeck and College senior Ana Lisa Lowenstein outside of ARCH directing students and staff into the polling site. 

She added that voting has been running smoothly and that although a few problems arose with students who either requested mail-in ballots that never arrived or students who thought they requested their ballot but actually did not, everything has been resolved and all students have been successfully able to vote.

— Staff reporter Hadriana Lowenkron

At Houston Hall, two Penn students begrudgingly vote for Biden

Updated at 11:42 a.m. on Nov. 3

College seniors Kristen Ukeomah, who is also president of Penn's Black Student League, and Olutayo Fawibe made the trek to Houston Hall together and described the voting process as simple and fast. They both voted for Biden, but said they were not thrilled with either candidate.

“I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because who else was I going to vote for?” Fawibe said, adding that she does not trust the institution of voting in general, but feels it is better to participate than not participate. 

“Hopefully [my vote is] for good and is helpful,” she said.

Credit: Gary Lin

College senior Kristen Ukeomah (left) and College senior Olutayo Fawibe (right) voted today at Houston Hall. 

Ukeomah agreed with Fawibe and said that even though she does not feel that Biden’s policies will do enough to help Black communities, she recognizes the importance of voting.

“I’m able to vote; I'm not in a situation, fortunately, where I can't vote, so I came out to vote,” she said.

She called Trump’s administration “extreme and irrational," citing Trump's undermining of the U.S. postal service. She added that there are other important races on the ballot outside of the presidential election that directly affect the Philadelphia community, particularly the four ballot initiative questions.

— Staff reporter Hadriana Lowenkron

Students describe short lines, heightened COVID-19 protocols

Updated at 11:08 a.m. on Nov. 3

College and Wharton junior Janice Owusu, who voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, described a pleasant voting process at the ARCH building where she experienced few lines and stringent COVID-19 precautions, such as using disposable gloves at the polling machines.

For Owusu, the importance of voting stems from centuries of disenfranchisement of Black Americans and using her privilege to vote on behalf of those who are not as fortunate. Now that she has completed her civic duty, the waiting game for election results begins — a process she described as nerve-wracking.

Photo from Janice Owusu

“I’m anxious, very anxious, just like I felt in 2016, although I was unqualified to vote then,” she said. “And I think a lot of people are going to say that today because it's just a very anxiety-inducing day.”

Engineering senior Susan Xie voted for the first time this morning and said she was excited to perform her civic duty.

“It’s kind of surreal that today's Election Day because I feel like there was just so much build up towards it,” she said. “This is a pretty historic moment so it was pretty exciting. And I got a sticker!”

She added that the polling workers at Houston Hall were very helpful in guiding her through the voting process, adding that there was barely a line.

— Staff reporter Hadriana Lowenkron

Penn President Amy Gutmann votes at Houston Hall

Updated at 9:48 a.m. on Nov. 3

Before casting her ballot at Houston Hall, Penn President Amy Gutmann told The Daily Pennsylvanian that "it is important for young people to get involved" and that there is "no single better way to do that as a citizen than to vote."

Gutmann was joined by her husband Michael Doyle and wore a mask emblazoned with the Penn First Plus logo.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Penn President Amy Gutmann and her husband Michael Doyle cast their ballot in the 2020 Elections at Houston Hall earlier this morning. 

Gutmann told the DP she was proud of how many early votes have been cast across the country and stressed that every American citizen should vote this Election Day, whether it be via mail-in ballot or in-person methods.

"Every election is incredibly important, but this election, given the pandemic, given the fight against racism, given that Philadelphia is the birthplace of freedom and justice, all of our students, members of the Penn community, and everyone across America should be voting in this election," Gutmann said.

— Staff reporter Tori Sousa

Houston Hall voting line dissipates, only about a five minute wait

Updated at 9:20 a.m. on Nov. 3

Nursing sophomore Meghan Child says she was prepared to wait in line for hours to vote today. When she arrived at 8:30 a.m. at Houston Hall, however, she was pleasantly surprised when she only had to wait about five minutes to cast her ballot.

This is the first election Child is eligible to vote in, and as a native Californian, she said she feels that her vote matters more now than ever living in a swing state. 

“Being able to vote for the first time in Pennsylvania has made me be more invested because I know my vote actually counts, being in a swing state. It’s exciting,” Child said.

— Staff reporter Tori Sousa

Joe Biden will visit Philadelphia at around 11:45 a.m.

Updated at 7:49 a.m. on Nov. 3

Democratic Presidential nominee and former Penn Presidential Professor of Practice Joe Biden will make a final campaign stop in Philadelphia later this morning. The location of the visit has yet to be announced by the Biden campaign.

After visiting Philadelphia, Biden is expected to make a final campaign stop in his hometown of Scranton, Pa. before his Election Night event in Wilmington, Del.

— Staff reporter Jonah Charlton

Credit: Chase Sutton

A line of early morning voters outside of Houston Hall ahead of the 7 a.m. poll opening. 

Students turn out en masse ahead of 7 a.m. poll openings

Updated at 7:44 a.m. on Nov. 3

More than 150 people — primarily Penn students — began lining up outside of Houston Hall at around 6 a.m., an hour ahead of its 7 a.m. opening.

The ARCH building and Walnut Street West Library on 40th and Walnut streets, the two other polling places nearest to Penn's campus, also saw lines of around 30 and over 100, respectively, ahead of the 7 a.m. poll openings.

By 7 a.m., the line outside Houston Hall had grown to include at least 200 people, extending past College Hall towards Locust Walk. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

— Staff reporter Jonah Charlton

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