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. Kyle Michel Sullivan

    Gee, you think it might have something to do with him being a loud liberal who's been deriding a corrupt conservative government? Naw, it couldn't be, right? Right. And the GOP will swear it's just a coincidence.

    Voting there since 1992 and two months ago his name was on the registration but now it's not? Just a boo-boo. Sure. Really. just ask the Republican mayor of NYC, who's fighting to have a third term despite term limits. Nothing serious going on.

    Crap like this is happening all over the country. When will someone have the GOP investigated for their connection to voter fraud? Or is the Justice Department so overrun with Republican operatives they'll scuttle any attempt to look into what those scum have been doing but go out of their way to accuse a community organization like ACORN of submitting false voter registrations, even though ACORN's required to send in EVERY form filled out - by law?

    Y'know, Jesus was a community organizer, and have you ever noticed GOP rhymes with Pharisee?

    November 4, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. ktmonster

    If more american's were as pro-active as Tim Robbins and stood up for their right to vote George W wouldn't have been elected in 2000. Bravo to Mr. Robbins and his committment to democracy.

    November 4, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. B

    I am sure the GOP with all their power targeted Tim Robbins in the hotly contested battleground state of New York. Get real. Mistakes happen. No one is being singled out.

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

    Utterly ridiculous. Like Mr. Robbins says, how many thousands of other people are having these same issues? I'd be really interested to see what the ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans whose names are "missing" from the register is. Voter's nationwide deserve answers to that question...

    November 4, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Heidi (CA)

    I watched Tim Robbins on Bill Maher the other night. So, having heard what he said there, it doesn't surprise me that he was purged from the rolls. It definitely needs to be looked into and the person who did it needs to be held accountable.

    I just feel sorry for those people who don't have the time to deal with that kind of thing and just take the provisional ballot.

    We need to fix our system. It is completely broken. And, with networks saying they may predict before polls close in NY?! That is influencing voters...yet I can't wear my Obama t-shirt in a polling station. It's asinine!

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

    This is a very strange and troubling story. What happened to people not as feisty as Robbins?

    November 4, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Rob Johnson

    I had to jump through similar hoops to vote in the primary, but I had no trouble today, thank God. I'm glad Mr. Robbins got taken care of, even if it did take some time.

    Look on the bright side, people-When was the last time we had an election where people cared enough to wait in line for hours and fight the powers that be in order to vote? This is a very positive development.

    I waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to vote today, and I don't regret a second. It was uplifting and encouraging to see that many people willing to actually sacrifice in order to exercise their right to vote.

    God Bless America!

    November 4, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Sean in SC

    his name was probably missing because ACORN used it in one of their fake, illegal entries to vote for Obama...

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Meg from Colorado

    This sounds fishy. How many people nationwide are experiencing this same problem? How many just give up? Tim Robbins is a famous actor/activist who evidently has clout since a judge heard his case, and allowed him to vote. I sure hope someone explains this glitch soon. This is the reason why mail-in voting is a better way. I am truly disgusted that something like this can happen in the United States.

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. Frann A in CA

    This is not a liberal or a conservative issue. That's the easy way out.

    It's a non partisan issue – it's an multi-partisan issue. Luckily, Tim Robbins has some fire in the belly and is standing up for every man or woman who could get lost in the mix.

    He's using his own press to bring light to this issue for everyone.

    Thank you.

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Marc - Las Vegas

    get busy living or get busy dying....

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

    Huh, the same thing happened to me in Boston today! I refused the provisional ballot, as I was told my vote wouldn't be counted. Interestingly, the voting machine was broken and the ballots were being taken by hand and stuffed into a crate.Sometimes Ii's hard to believe we're living in the 21st century.

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Johnny Canuck

    The sad fact is that if the media reported this kind of thing happening in a third world country, we would all say that the government is corrupt and call for them to be ousted. Everyone would call out election fraud. Makes you think.

    Time for the Republicans to GO!

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Good for him - not everyone would have had the ability or pull to have gotten a judge's order that fast.

    This voting system - nationwide - is a travesty.

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

    Anyone who thinks this wasn't done on purpose is ignorant! Robbins is a target because he is an outspoken liberal and proud of it. Someone did this not because it was going to make a difference in the outcome of the election but because it would be a pain in Robbins neck to have to deal with it. Typical Republican BS......

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Jean-Christophe Dick

    Same thing happened to me in Santa Monica, I voted in the primary and my name was missing from the list, they offered me only a provisional Ballot.

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

    Robbins is a jerk

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

    Interesting. Here behind the red (oops, I mean orange curtain) in Huntington Beach, CA, the only three individuals whose names were missing were Democrats, myself included. I was ultimately handed a paper ballot and told that since I wanted to write in a name, I could not use electronic voting.

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. scott- nyc dem

    in heavily democratic nyc, i doubt taking tim robbins name of the list was the act of a sinister republican. probably just a poorly trained volunteer who photocopied the book wrong. these things happen, folks, and just because it happened to someone famous doesnt mean the system is broekn.

    November 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. florida red neck

    he's a bad actor and is simply using the press to try and drum up some support for the blues. Blue gums that is...

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

    Amazing, someone with money and media at their fingertips. He's never had a problem before, but with media available, wow instant News Story!

    He makes me sick, he and Sean Penn and the other liberal glitterazi should move to a country that caters to their every whim. I'll gladly foot the bill to provide change of address.

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

    Tim sates "hundreds of thousands" we not allowed to vote like he was. And he says Republicans lie! Pure fantasy. I wounder what colour the sky is on planet Liberal.

    November 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Matt in Memphis

    You folks who think the election is rigged – when Obama wins, which he will, are you going to eat those ill-considered words?

    I doubt it. You'll just forget them, and next time it serves your whim you'll trot them out again. And you'll wonder why no one seems to be taking you seriously. Which will have the net effect of reinforcing your already-existing belief in your own intellectual superiority. Just another day in the echo chamber.

    Didja ever think that instead of a vast, stupid conspiracy there might just be a small error rate in the handling of millions of discrete items? Nahhhhh! It's a conspiracy!

    November 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Ken from DE

    CNN reports e-mails, phone calls, pamphlets and text messages in a dozen or so states saying Democrats should vote on Wednesday and no reports of similar fake messages saying Republicans should vote on Wednesday. Pretty obvious which side respects democracy and the integrity of the voting process.

    November 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Earl from Boston

    To Mr. Robbins. As an admirer of both your professional career and the voice you've added to the political discourse in this country, I ask that you continue to use your voice in bringing this situation into the limelight. We (the common folk) need your help in making sure that what you experienced gets investigated, researched and spoken to, so that real solutions are developed to make sure every vote counts. (To CNN, I trust my email address will not be published to the general public, please.)

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