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. SHIRAZ KARA

    I AM A CANADIAN AND IT BAFFLES ME THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO STAND IN LINE FOR MORE THAN 5 HOURS.I AM SURPRISED THAT
    NOT MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT WALKING AWAY AS IT MUST BE VERY
    FRUSTRATING TO STAND IN RAIN AND COLD.THEY HAVE TO FIND
    A BETTER METHOD OR MORE POLLING STATIONS TO ENCOURAGE LARGE TURNOUTS.
    PERSONALLY,I HAVE VOTED IN ALMOST 20 FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS AND NEVER HAVE I STOOD IN A LINE FOR
    THAN 20 MINUTES.
    C'MON AMERICA -WAKE UP

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. sarah

    Are you serious? He never mentioned one thing about a 'right-winged conspiracy' you nut. He just wanted to know why he was not able to vote, it's his right to know. I'm sure if it weren't him on the news it would have been someone else with the exact same problem.. He's providing awareness. Chill out guy.

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. the man

    So you are blaming him for this? When is the country going to wake up and realize that taking the rights of any away hurts everybody? Right wing wackos welcome to the 21st century!

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

    who cares Tim – I don't like your movies, don't like your political views and believe you have no bigger voice then anyone else...its funny, I am an expert in my field...do I get air time...no, all of these people from hollywood are on this belief they are higher on the food chain...why, because they make "make believe"...my job and success is measured in real time...

    November 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Rob in Florida

    I had the same problem Tim Robbins had today. My wife and I registered at our most recent address in 2001 and voted in 2004 using our current address. Some how when I went to vote today my wifes name was there, but mine was missing. When I went to the guy with the computer, he told me my old address was showing. How is that possible? How many people are having the same problem?

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

    Agreed, I live in the east lake view area of Chicago and they aren't asking for ID's here either. People are getting their ballots ripped off. Clearly, this is rigged. What a joke!!!

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    Vote suppression is the #1 GOP tool to "win" elections.

    Not this time.

    Obama - right now!

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. SHIRAZ KARA

    I AM A CANADIAN AND IT BAFFLES ME THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO STAND IN LINE FOR MORE THAN 5 HOURS.I AM SURPRISED THAT
    NOT MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT WALKING AWAY AS IT MUST BE VERY
    FRUSTRATING TO STAND IN RAIN AND COLD.THEY HAVE TO FIND
    A BETTER METHOD OR MORE POLLING STATIONS TO ENCOURAGE LARGE TURNOUTS.
    PERSONALLY,I HAVE VOTED IN ALMOST 20 FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS AND NEVER HAVE I STOOD IN A LINE FOR
    THAN 20 MINUTES.
    C'MON AMERICA -WAKE UP

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Trey

    Typical Dem, doesn't check to make sure he's registered, like the rest of us, then crys to the man.

    What a dip stick

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Retired LE

    Who cares what Robbins thinks. He is no better or worse than the rest of us. Just cuz he is a 'star' does not make him better (or worse) than the rest of us. His vote counts as one. Same as mine.

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Tomas G in Houston

    Apart from all the conspiracy talk, things do go wrong during election time and in one of the most organized and powerful nations this is unacceptable.
    Anyways it doesn't even matter. I just thank the Lord Jesus Mohammed Sumatra that Bush and his henchmen are out and hopefully some important change will come during a time of serious global transition.
    I love you Obama

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Ken Williams

    The point surely, is not about Tim Robbins but about how the electoral system is full of holes. If Joe Sixpack (God I hate that term) couldn't vote, it wouldn't have got any news. But because it's Robbins, it does, and rightly so. The point is, for every Robbins in NY who's unable to vote because of glitches (whether it's a conspiracy or not) there are probably thousands or hundred of thousands of peope, from both sides, like him all over the country. Whoever gets in (Obama!! Please!!) needs to fix this.
    By the way CH, Tim and Susan speak so highly of you!

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Delores

    I am glad he got to vote, but did he help others he claims are missing from the roll? He got on because of who he was and no other reason.

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. chmeee

    So one of the more notorious left-wing Hollywoodland flakes is complaining. What else is new? These guys see government conspiracies in everything that doesn't go their way.

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. the man

    So you are blaming him for this? When is the country going to wake up and realize that taking the rights of any away hurts everybody? Right wing wackos welcome to the 21st century!

    November 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Mark from Minnesota

    Just like a Liberal, waa, waa, waa. what about my needs. God, this guy needs to get a life. His vote would have counted, but he had to be a baby. Grow up!!!

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. theboxman

    In Tennessee they discovered they still have over 1,000 people on the voter polls who are dead. It makes you wonder if our system is working or not. How does someone's name just disappear. I don't think Tim Robbins is someone who forgot to register to vote as he is so active on many levels.

    I only wish I had the money and fame to fight for issues that I believe in and could get a court date and verdict in the same day and still have time to vote.

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

    I wish when people comment on something they make sure they have read the whole story before commenting. Also, we all have a right to our opinion this is not to tell your personal feelings you have for someone it is to discuss the issue at hand. C'mon grow up people and be adults if you are going to respond to a story that is being talked about. It doesn't matter who he is everyone has a right to vote, it wasn't his fault he was left off.. Give me a break!!

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Paul in Ca.

    Good for him! He cares enough to take the time out of his busy scheduled and make sure his vote actually counted!!! I just wish more people would stand up for their beliefs!

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. BC girl

    What I can't figure out is why is there so much trouble with the voting machines and such? You guys had 22 months or so to get this thing ready! I am so tired of the ads on TV and will be glad when this is over. Far too long!

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. John (Ontario)

    As an American living in Canada, I find it stunning how Americans cannot organize elections and how so-called third world tactics are used to prevent certain people from voting (e.g., Bush's tactics in 2004 with voting registers incorrectly listing people, mostly those likely to vote Democratic, as felons and thus not eligible to vote in many states). Maybe before the U.S. brings democracy to the rest of the world as it has done so effectively in Iraq, it should try it first itself.

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. Uncle Fred

    So whats new?It will probaly be another rigged deal anyway ,like Gore&Dubya,and the courts will apoint McSane&the phony great white hunter .God have mercy on this country. EX G.I.

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Travis-N-LBC

    no more out of touch republicans. these wealthy people never know what is going on because their cronies are busy making working people broke. it is time for the top 5 percent to go and be rich somewhere and stop bleeding the rest of us dry. we are the economy. we buy your products and services that keep you rich. The Economy Strikes Back coming to a republican near you.

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Rob - Houston, Texas

    Seems like he could have voted anyway if he had his voter registration card with him. I was added to the book in '96. Maybe I was given a provisional ballot. It didn't matter, my candidate won our state by a big margin.

    November 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. spudmctater

    Funny how Republicans don't seem to mind if a Democrat isn't allowed to vote. What would happen if this occurred in Dallas to a country-music star and outspoken Republican? We wouldn't hear the end of this – how the government is trying to keep Republicans from voting, etc, etc...

    At least Tim Robbins' notoriety is bringing this issue to light. There needs to be some changes made in how Americans cast ballots.

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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