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

Actor waged 5-hour battle to cast vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. albertaborn42

    Hate and intolerance are such wonderful, glorious character traits to have. I'm sorry all my kids are raised and out of the home; I missed a great opportunity to teach them the "proper" way to act toward others–and how to keep wars and destruction alive and well in a "free" country.

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. hometowndemocrat

    Wow, the republicans are out in force here much fun to see them running scared. You can tell how scared they are by the way they are spouting out so much filth and nonsense. Tomorrow we won't hear a word from any of them. It's hard to type when your licking your wounds.

    BTW................Obama could see the White House from the Illinois polls this morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. hopeful

    It is very sad that people are trying every little trick in the book to keep people from having a voice. I agree that provisional voting is a sneaky way to discount your vote. its time for all americans to stand up and fight to be heard. It does not matter if you have clout or not. You have a voice demand to be heard. I waited in line for three hours and they told me I could not vote. I took the two hour drive in the middle of the week to my home town to let my vote count. I am a proud voter and no matter what they try God controls everything and he will make sure we are heard.

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Bill C.

    Really remarkable how vocal (and stupid) people can be from the safe haven of their computer keyboards. Why don't you all use your full names and addresses when you feel so moved to exercise your freedom of speech?

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Carissa in Berkeley

    Same thing happened to me today...but I filled out the provisional ballot. . .

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. kathy in nc

    Good for you Tim! Keep fighting for all of us

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. mike

    Why do comments refer to a conspiracy? The article doesn't mention anything like that, nor does Tim Robbins. It's just a technical or administrative glitch. No need to invoke conspiracies. Boy is it ever time for this thing to end. People are losing their marbles,

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. brandy

    I am so suprised that there are comments reflecting negativly on him it is apparent that they are gop. Those who dont believe there is a real conspiracy of voter suppression and fraud. I comend him on the will power to make sure his voice counts. If all of the democrats fought like he did in all of the states in 2000 and 2004 we would not have every seen the likes of a bush presidency.

    November 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. bob

    Love the white-wing (no, that's not a misspelling) crap that has been posted here. "He probably forgot to register"–when he's voting at the same place he has voted since the early '90s. "Black Panthers"–there are NO Black Panthers. BTW, doesn't NYC have a Republican mayor???

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. etbw

    This is news? I had problems this morning because I never got an early ballot and they said I'd already voted. Filled out the provisional–didn't look like they were throwing them away.

    Glad he could afford to have a judge waste his and the taxpayers' time.

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Bill

    Listen – nobody should be denied the right to vote, but can we please get a grip. The guy lives in New York City! The entire political establishment is Democratic. Including the mayor, who was a lifelong Democrat who changed party affiliations so as to run unopposed. The idea that there was some plan to rob Tim Robbins the right to vote in NYC, which will go for Obama by at least 15%, is the type of off-the-rocker conspiracy kookfest garbage that is taking over the fringes of both parties. God help us.

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Doug Braverman

    I wouldn't be surprised if McOld stole this election like Bush did in 2000.

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Laughing in California

    Use your brains – P L E A S E. Does anyone really think that in a state like NY that will break for Obama by at least a 10% margin one of the loudest liberals would be targeted to be removed from the list?

    How about some logic people. Try this, there are most likely several Tim Robbins living in and moving out of NY. Since the voter rolls are controlled by democrats and administered by state employees (most of which are democrats) – how about it is either a Obama scheme to fire up the base or it is a simple mistake made by simple people.

    Tell you what, how do you think state and federal employees are going to do when they start running your health care?

    Think "Tim Robbins" is going to be OK when some federal worker can't find his name on the kidney transplant list?

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. JF

    There has to be a serious overhaul of the nation's election apparatus. Time for federally administered elections with a single standard for the whole country and adequate funding of voting technology.

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Lisa

    I had the same issue in SC today!! I stood in line for almost 3 hours only to be told that my name was not on the list. I have not moved, nor changed my name and I voted there in the primary. I was made to vote using the provisional ballot. Most likely I have wasted my time!!

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. julie

    Those that complain and do nothing, are not helping the situation. If the same thing happened to those of you slamming Tim Robbins, you would say it was the other team as well. All he said was fix the problem. What's the problem with that?

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. kellyP

    tim robbins is probably not that unusual of a name in that town or district. It was likely that an individual with the same name moved away and was meant to be purged and this loud mouth actor with the same name got caught up in the process.

    November 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Joe in Hawaii

    They must have thought he was Republican...

    November 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Dave, Houston, TX

    You've been caged, bro!

    I'm glad that you fought it and won, Tim, because you can finally put a celebrity face on this underreported problem. (Who would know about Lou Gehrig's Disease if it weren't for Lou Gehrig?) I hope you get answers about how exactly you got caged and those responsible go to jail, Shawshank-style!

    November 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. re: ch

    "Him and his wife are pretty much the scum of the earth.

    Not because of their politics but because they are rude, haggard, old, obnoxious has -beens who just refuse to go away."

    Right...people who challenge ideas from people like you are the scum of the earth. That makes so much sense. But then, you're probably just a little too obtuse to detect sarcasm.

    November 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. jml

    I too had the exact thing happen to me in upstate NY this morning. I have voted in the same place in every election and have lived in the same district for 15 years and I was not on the list today. I did vote provisionally though as I believe if you do not vote you have no right to complain about our government. I don't believe it's a conspriacy by anyone or any party, just that the process is broken and we need true voting reform (as they promised us 8 years ago after the problems with the 2000 election). Stop flaming Mr. Robbins, who cares who he voted for, it's more about that he felt he couldn't vote and have it counted. Stop looking for the bias in everything.

    November 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. mrn (GA)

    Tim Robbins is the victim of a bureaucratic screw-up and this is national news?

    Should I call CNN the next time I'm stuck in line at the DMV?

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

    Standard practice in NY allows anyone who is off the register to go in front of a judge. Judges are placed all over the state today only fcused on these issues. So anyone who has the time and interest can do the same as Tim. this has also been advertised on radio news spots and in newspapers.

    November 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Mike


    November 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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