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. Grego Harden

    Just maybe he feels like many other across the nation that's trying to vote obama but there names aren't on the list!

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Dan Oblak -

    That's easy - it was a simple clerical error (they had him down as a McCain supporter and he ended up as part of the random purge.)

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Cristine C.

    I am just loving reading the comments by the Repubs. Such sore losers and it makes me so happy knowing how miserable you morons are. Awwww!!

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. D in CA

    Mr. Robbins and his wife are academy award winning actors, parents, citizens and human beings. They deserve to be treated as such.

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Stacey Jay

    Obnoxious has-beens? I think not. Tim Robins and Susan Sarandon are true role models in Hollywood and it is great to see someone standing up for their rights.

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. jenn (calif.)

    Luckily he had the connections to get this solved. What about all the other voters who ran into the same issue, but don't have those connections? They had to fill out provisional ballots, I'm sure. Who's going to insure that those ballots will be counted? I'd definitely want someone to look into this. Regardless of how you feel about his politics, he still has the right to vote in the method he has used for the past decade+.

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. SB

    It doesn't matter if you think they are the scum of the earth. As Americans we all have the right to vote and I would be pretty mad if my name wasn't on the voters list.

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. richard oregon

    my name was dropped from the rolls for the 2004 election. my voter address and dmv adress did not match.

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. Todd

    This great Tim Robbins get denied .....He has the money to get it fixed but what about the people who don't. I hearf the some places are still using chads .....this cost Al Gore the Election. See the movie Recount about provisional ballots ...they do throw them out .

    November 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Lindsay

    Same exact thing happened to me.

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

    After reading the comments above, I came to the realization that there needs to be some sort of IQ level people must reach in order to vote

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Jennycraigslistdotcom

    He didn't need to register if he voted there last election. lrn2american.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. California Gold

    Media outlets are reporting similar problems voters are encountering. If your name is deleted from the rolls without cause and/or explanation you should be upset. I'd be jumping up and down on someone's desk too.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Me

    ch – what does that have to do with having your name missing? I have had that happen to me, or had my name mis-spelled and they refused to let me vote. I made a huge scene, but unfortunately for me, I don't have the money or the resources to get a judge's order to make them allow me to vote.

    This is a serious situation that people take too lightly. And it makes no difference if it is happening to mean people, nice people, rich people or poor people, it shouldn't be happening at all, but you rarely hear about it and when you do, people don't make that much of a big deal about it, because it usually happens to the "nobodys". In this case, Mr. Robbins happens to have money and a name so it made it to CNN.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. I've Seen the Light

    I am a lifelong Republican who cannot intellectually, morally, ethically, or economically support that party any longer, for many reasons including examples such as this. I've never been a conspiracy theorist, but it is no accident that Tim Robbins' (with whom I rarely agree) name has been deleted. Had he recently moved, not been registered, or never voted in that district before, then maybe there would be a logical and reasonable explanation for this happening. But not this time.

    I also found it interesting that both Oprah and Martha Stewart (and Martha's daughter) reported problems with trying to vote using the machines. A major investigation and a major overhaul of the federal electoral process should be the first thing that the new president and Congress tackle. How can we hold ourselves up as the Bastion of Democracy when our voting system is questionable on so many levels and in so many ways? It makes us a laughing stock internationally; it denies the voting rights of citizens domestically. God bless America.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Linda

    If you are going to remove peoples names from the voting register to prevent some people from voting, why in the world would you choose someone so out spoken and famous as Tim Robbins? DUH, committing fraud without thinking it all through, what a bunch of idiots, LOL.

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

    Really? you are going to resort to personal attacks on this man and his wife? That is the last resort of people who have nothing of substance to say.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. Denver Dem

    Good for Robbins, and I hope more people rise a hellish stink if they can't get voted. Also I am in total agreeance on the provisional ballot issues, they are garbage and don't get counted anyway. I feel 100% he was booted for his comments on Bill Mahrer a month ago, and when he finds out who is responsible Tim will throw their POS name all over the net.

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Wolf Proctor

    Every American citizen has a right to vote today, no matter if they are a liberal actor or conservative grandfather. The system of registration in many locations could definitely use an overhaul... and this makes one wonder just how many eligible voters were turned away or forced to fill out a provisional ballot just because of an unexplained omission or clerical error. That's why I chose to vote early, in case there were any problems beforehand...

    November 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. Gillian Daly, Canada

    I am surprised to learn that Tim Robbin's name was msising from the voter list despite the fact he voted at the same place and did not have a change of address. This is something that may be expected in a third-world country but not in America.

    An investigation needs to be done, this is totally unacceptable in this day and age with all the mordern technology. What if Mr. Robbins did not have the resources to fight the system to ensure he gets to vote the way he wants to vote. What about the ordinary person on the street.

    I think America is in dire need of change in every aspect from political, economical and social, they are no example for the world to follow. What a mess, what a mess. Thank goodness I am Canadian.

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

    Way to go tim stand up for your right to vote

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

    republicans sold there souls for bush and we all paid they. Are trying to suppress the vote don't be fooled , Vote fight it is your right

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Insist that your state introduce Vote-by-Mail like we have in Oregon and parts of Washington State.

    It is tried and true – over a decade here in Oregon. We seldom have problems. It is like we have no election at all, yet it all comes together. Best thing: no media hanging around the poor voters at the polling places.

    No hanging chads (no chads at all), no messed up voting machines (no voting machines at all), no weather problems, no glitches when you get to the polls (did I mention no polls?), and voting is just like taking your tests in school. Fill in the little circle with a dark pencil or pen. Mail it in or deliver to a ballot pickup location (similar to street postal boxes) or to your local elections office.

    You're done! Oh, and no rush. You have a couple of weeks to complete your ballot at your table with a cuppa in a nice warm room!

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

    In Chicago, they aren't even requiring ID's to vote. NICE. Totally rigged.

    November 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Joy Alexander

    I can't believe in this day and age of high tech gadgets, a person can not simply go to their usual polling center, and cast a ballot for their choice of president. This is not some mishap.......Their are people in this country that refuse to let us live up to our potential as a nation. Give me my freedom.

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