November 4th, 2008
05:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Actor waged 5-hour battle to cast vote

Robbins' name was missing from rolls.
Robbins' name was missing from rolls.

NEW YORK (CNN) - When Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins showed up at his West 14th Street YMCA polling center in Manhattan to vote Tuesday morning, election officials told him that his name was missing from the register.

"I went to vote where I normally vote and I was not listed. I asked for an explanation; they had none," Robbins told CNN.

He said he has been voting in the same district since 1992. He has not missed one election, and has not changed addresses or political affiliations.

"The poll worker said my name was in the book for the primary two months ago, but missing for the general election," he told CNN.

Although Robbins was offered the opportunity to fill out a provisional ballot, he was set on using the voting machine instead.

"Refuse provisional ballots - they're throwing those out, they can throw those out," he told viewers of "Real Time With Bill Maher" last month.

"If that's your last resort, take it, but fight for your right to vote," he said. "It's your right as an American."

It took Robbins a total of five hours - and a judge's order - to do so today.

"I'm just waiting for an explanation. I want a real explanation, and I want that explanation for the hundreds and thousands of people in my district and throughout the city who are experiencing the same thing today," Robbins told CNN.

A New York City Board of Elections representative did not return CNN's calls.

Polling places nationwide have seen heavy turnout - and accompanying delays and glitches - for the presidential race between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.


Filed under: New York • Voter Problems
soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. MKULTRA is ignorant

    Robbins was registered to vote in the Primary and has used the same location since 1992. Once you register you don't ever have to again unless you move. So explain how his name got removed?

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Bill in Canada

    You did the right thing Tim. Make sure every vote counts. Make sure you can cast your ballot, not just a provisional ballot. They can be thrown out at Tim said. Make sure your right to vote is not tampered with in any way.

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. cjpgh

    Names do not mysteriously fall off of voting registers.

    Once you're registered, you're registered there until you change your address or go inactive from not voting.

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon all need to disappear. I do not care what your political beliefs are. These used to be 3 of my favorite actors. That was before they began shoving their opinions down my throat. Furthermore, who said the Republicans were to blame for the bogus text message? I didn't see any GOP members hanging around outside the polls with STICKS! Did you?

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. SGJ

    Mr. Robbins had the desire to make his vote count today. He had to resources and time to make it happen. That is what this article is about. He could have taken the easy out and cast a provisional vote. Good for him, he acted on his belief of the right to vote and acted on it.

    His politics nor his relationship have nothing to do with this article. Anyone can have their opinion, but frankly it doesn't pertain to this article in the least. Back on track, eh?

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Scott

    To be fair, I haven't shifted address in over 13 years, have received primary voting papers, other voting papers, yet, mysteriously, the last two elections, I've received no presidential voting papers (I live overseas). I'm enrolled to vote (you can check it on-line) but it seems slightly strange I've not received the 2004 and 2008 presidential ballots in the post.

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    REMEMBER PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE, VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. DY

    He never said there was a conspiracy. It's every Americans constitutional right to vote.

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. Geo Long Beach

    Didn't you read the article? It say's he's voted there since 1992 and his name was on the primary where he last voted at the same location. Something strange happened and since it's in one of the "most liberal" places around, something is definately a miss.

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. LAL

    Exactly how "old" should one be before they should be required to go away? You might want to consider checking out early.
    All Americans that are properly registered should have the opportunity to vote. Can you blame a Democrat for doubting the voting system after having the last two elections stolen?

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. SunDevil

    That's funny. His name goes missing, and suddenly he needs an "explanation for the hundreds and thousands of people in my district and throughout the city who are experiencing the same thing today." Talk about drama.

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Scott in Portland Oregon

    I encourage you all to go to mail in balloting like we have in Oregon. Signature verified, easier, and no waiting!

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. arr

    A similar thing happened with Sean Hannity today in New York. His name had been "purged" from the rolls. Interesting that CNN didn't cover that story.....

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. George Nicoloff

    Who cares about liberal TIm Robbins.

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. mike

    wow, scum of the earth is pretty harsh, usually only reserved for those of great evil-cough cough BUSH!

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  16. Professor

    Five hours to vote, that's more than he spent studying the issues.

    November 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. Julie

    YAY for Tim !! Who says you can't fight city hall ?

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Shamsur Rahman

    What kind of nonscence is this. Its so disgusting when we hear thing like this . Not only Tim robbins so many people have to go through same issue . We are talking about America where a good preparation was made to make sure citizen registered and do not have to go throgh this in polling center. New York City Board of Elections representative really own an response to American citizen and its better be logical

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Bill in Canada

    You did the right thing Tim. Make sure every vote counts. Make sure you can cast your ballot, not just a provisional ballot. They can be thrown out as Tim said. Make sure your right to vote is not tampered with in any way.

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Andrew H

    Before waging wars in other countries to bring democracy, America might try bringing democracy home. The Repukes stole the last two election, the eyes of the world are watching tonight as they try again to steal it. Enough is enough, we do not want a dictatorship like we've had for the past eight years we want true democracy.

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. keenan

    for those of us who miss the voting date by 6 months i feel we have every right to complain for the next 4 years, i'm sick and tired of hearing people saying if you didn't vote you can't complain if i had the freedom to vote i would not hesitate to vote but for the sake of those who can't vote... please no more of this if you don't vote you can't complain crap!

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. bill

    Charles, I don't understand your complaints. If the article was just that he had to stand in line for 5 hours like everybody else, I would understand. The article says that he went to vote in the place that he was registered and had been able to vote in previous elections, and they told him he wasn't on the list. If he was an average person, he probably would not have been able to use the voting machine, but since he is who he is, he was able to get a judges order. They're not complaining about waiting for 5 hours.

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Eon

    I hope by God the good guys will win-whomever they are. We need a positive change

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. RB

    He shouldn't need to re-register if he's voted in the same place since 1992 and hasn't moved (or died). Stuff happens and maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe not. It will be interesting to see if they ever come up with a reason for how it happened.

    In 1972 my wife arrived to vote in the primary and was told she couldn't vote because she had died. It was news to her! She had to get a judge's order to vote and she did. We do seem to have a lot of trouble with the act of voting, even though we've been doing it for over 200 years. You'd think we'd have worked out reliable methods for registering and accounting for voters by now!

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Michael in Seattle

    Regardless of how you feel about him personally (and wow, some pretty strong opinions by people who have never even met the man) this should scare you. He was registered. His name was missing. R or D, this should concern you a lot.

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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