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. CaffeineJunky6

    This is simply appalling! This is what I'm worried about in this election, and because of these errors, it could cost my candidate (Obama) the race. Sheesh, our government will find ANY means possible to screw up an election. Last time it was Florida, now it's this.

    God help us if McCan't gets in the white house because of these errors.

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Ken Hudson Florida

    I personally think that every american citizen should automatically be registered to vote the day they turn 18. Anyone who removes a name of a valid registered voter from the voter registers should face federal jail time no matter what political party they belong to. It is not only the right, but the responsibility of every American Citizen to vote.

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

    Would happen anywhere else – the old claw of power will not let go easily – Good Job Tim !!

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. Charles

    If this isn't a bunch of crap. Who really cares about Robbins and how he battled 5 hours. It was made known exactly who he was for from the beginning – I think maybe CNN is getting very biased. What makes him more important then a regular voter who waited the same amount of time, & nobody knows who he/she voted for. Just the fact that the wait was a long one. Cnn talks about this and how "Fake messages target Obama backers". But I don't see anything about the Black Panthers blocking the poll, intimidating voters – stating "White power doesn't work here." & they are not intimidating Barack voters.

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

    Democrats will always be whinners. Even with an unfortunate BHO win due to Chicago machine politics and the infamous ACORN voter fraud tactics, the Democrats will complain about voter suppression. As a lifelong Democrat, after seeing the decietful practices being engaged in by the DNC and the Obama campaign, since the primary season, I will never vote for a Democrat again. Get ready for the destruction of the USA and Israel, if Obama steals this election. You might as well just get a Government job, because everyone will be giving their paychecks to the Government establishment. High taxes and doubling of our National Debt is on the horizon with the Democrats in charge. God help us.

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Philadelphia Voter


    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Luigi ina California

    It's called stealing an election.

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

    Why do conspiracies always happen to conspiracy nuts?

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Lorraine Chavarria

    Boy oh boy, did some idiot Republican activist "accidentally purge" the WRONG name! LOL! Get 'em Tim!

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Tim (NV)

    Maybe he was registered at Shawshank.

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

    This is extremely troubling. Other stories of apparent voter disenfranchisement have been surfacing recently also (such as the individuals who were informed they cannot vote because they are not U.S. citizens, when they in fact were citizens.)

    I hope this does not turn into another "Bush v. Gore"-type debacle, where the Supreme Court ends up deciding our president.

    November 4, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Geri

    WOW ch – your comments are so educated !! You are a joy!

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Rachel Pelone

    That would have to happen to Tim. Great American he is . Wow!

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Lisa

    Its time 4 a change. If u dont vote dont complain 4 the next 4 years.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. elizabeth

    this is one of the ways the stole the election in florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Yet no one challenged it then and they may get away with it again. How coan we get respect in the rest of the world?

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. some chick

    this happened to me in los angeles and 2 other people in my district... all registered independent, non affiliated, or democrat.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. Howie

    Talk about dirtly tricks – how about the 100,00 flyers distributed in Florida in the poor african american neighborhoods saying:

    "To ease congestion Republicans should vote on Tuesday and Democrats on Wednesday."

    It's so obvious the Republican will steal elections at any cost like they have the last two.

    It's an n EVIL gorup of people operate operate on the Republican banner ...all in the "name of god!".

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. R. L. Reedy

    Guess he needs the attention. Stupid liberal.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Greta for Obama

    Just think about all of the other people who are not famous actors that this has happened to. Republicans will do anything to win.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Florida Red Neck

    His vote won't matter. It's going to be a landslide for McCain anyway.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. lisa

    I vote in one of the most liberal districts in NYC. ALL the inspectors were Republican (I don't know how they found that many in my neighborhood). they gave everyone who didn't look "American" a hard time and even pretended for 6 minutes that the elderly Asian woman ahead of me (who had her voter registration card) wasn't on the rolls. It was disgraceful. I can only imagine how rough things can be in places like Ohio and Florida.

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Bill

    Democrats successfully fought off attempts to verify the rolls before the elections. Whose cryin now?

    November 4, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. KLEE

    No matter what – this shouldn't happen – by Jove – New York is much more sophisticated than that – isn't it!! Talk about the infrastructure needing repairs !!!! –


    November 4, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. Elyse

    Thank goodness this happenned to Tim Robbins, among the many. He will not let this drop, and neither should we.

    November 4, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Jason Pratt

    Sorry Tim, there is no right to vote. You have a privilege to live in a country in which voting is part of the government system.

    Oh wait, someone in government is trying to disenfranchise the constituency and grab and hold power? You are surprised by this?

    It's the very reason our forefathers wrote a Constitution to limit the government's power, and it worked pretty well for about 120 years. Sadly those days are long gone.

    Expect more chicanery to come...until we somehow get government back into its cage.

    November 4, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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