NEW YORK, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Despite the incessant rain, voters in New York cast their ballots on Tuesday during the first key nationwide election since 2016, with enthusiasm seldom seen in previous midterm elections.
Holding umbrellas or simply braving the downpour, some even in wheelchairs, voters were seen constantly entering into Public School 154, located in Harlem, uptown Manhattan, one of the over 1,200 polling sites across the city.
"The turnout has been particularly heavy," said New York City Board of Elections Commissioner Frederic M. Umane, while inspecting the site around 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), four hours after the voting began.
"This approaches what we would have in a presidential election," he said, expressing hope that people waiting in long lines in various locations could have an "appropriate patience to be able to get through the process."
"If I don't vote, then I don't have a voice in the future for my children, your children and everybody's children," said 74-year-old Barbara White, a former medical worker. "We need to work together to make it a better world."
Voters in all 50 U.S. states are casting ballots Tuesday in the 2018 midterm elections, which will have profound impact on U.S. politics for the next two years. Today's vote will decide control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as state and local office holders.
Kate Shein, 30, labeled herself a generally independent voter, while she cast her votes for those who can better protect civil rights and women's reproductive health, two issues that matter most to her.
Joanna Dawe, election district inspector at Central Family Life Center, a polling site on Staten Island, New York City, told Xinhua that more people showed up to vote during this election as compared with that four years ago.
The peak time for voters usually came after work from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the seasoned election worker.
Outside this polling site, Frederick Maley, 65, was holding a poster with candidates' names on it, and called on people to vote.
"I vote every election. It's a privilege," he said, adding that social security, medical aid and health care for middle class and working Americans were his major concerns when making choices.
Maley's opinion was echoed by Fiona Lin, a 46-year-old English teacher at a local middle school, who said it was important to make sure that children, adults, the elderly and particularly immigrants have access to quality health care.
Paul Allen, 74, said he voted all the time. "Even one time when I was in hospital."
The former mailman, who came to the country "on a boat" over 40 years ago, came to polls wishing the immigration issue should be addressed in a more proper way. "Keeping immigrants out is not the way America is built," he noted.
Voter enthusiasm was nationwide high during this election. People who are eligible to vote joined the droves to cast ballots across the United States on Tuesday.
A recent survey by TargetSmart, a U.S. voter file data provider, showed that more than 35 million votes have already been cast in early voting nationwide, a record turnout for midterms.