This story was updated at 9:45 p.m. 

Election Day is here.

Polling places opened in Philadelphia at 7 a.m. for in-person voting across the city. But more than 400,000 voters have cast their ballots already cast mail-in ballots.

Officials have warned of long lines at polling places for the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, that was expected to draw massive turnout.

10:45 a.m.

Lines were short around 10 a.m. outside the Masjidullah Center for Human Excellent in West Oak Lane, which is part of the 50th Ward that traditionally draws some of the highest levels of turnout in the city.

After casting her ballot inside the mosque, Kiana Bebee said she wanted to vote in person because she questioned whether her ballot would be counted if she voted by mail.

“I didn’t trust the mail-in ballots,” said Bebee, 30.

Bebee said she voted for change in the presidential election because “everything is going wrong.”

Standing outside the mosque was state Rep. Chris Rabb, a Democrat running to maintain his seat in the 200th legislative district.

Rabb, who also is a Democratic committee person and ward leader, said he has been visiting polling places in his district since the polls opened and witnessed longer lines in Black neighborhoods compared to white neighborhoods.

Rabb believed that Trump’s attacks on voting by mail and the U.S. Postal Service contributed to Black Philadelphia voters distrusting mail-in ballots. He added that voting in-person was culturally important for Black voters.

“There’s something about being here that has greater meaning, I think, to African Americans because voter suppression is the norm,” Rabb said.

Robert Boykin, a Democratic committee person in Philadelphia’s 50th Ward, 30th Division, said voting at the mosque was calm that morning with no issues. He noticed a lot of first time voters casting ballots there.

About 75 voters began lining up outside the polling place at Concerned Black Men Inc. at 6 a.m. -- an hour before polls opened, Candy Heard said.

“It was dark out here! They were trying to vote early and beat the crowd,” said Heard, the Democratic committee person for the 10 Ward, 4th Division, who was stationed at the nonprofit along the 7200 block of N 21st St.

Heard said she’s served as a committee person for the past decade and never had she seen so many voters turnout so early as she sat in a folding chair outside Concerned Black Men around noon. By that time, there was no line to vote.  

At least six voters brought their mail-in ballots to the polling place to be “spoiled” so they could instead vote in-person, Heard said.

Deatria Lopez, 56, said she was working at the polling place at Concerned Black Men for the first time.

Lopez said she was motivated to cast a ballot on Tuesday because this election was different.

“There’s too much stuff happening out here,” Lopez said. “People getting killed. It’s bad out here now. We need a change.”

12:30 p.m.

About 75 voters began lining up outside the polling place at Concerned Black Men Inc. at 6 a.m. — an hour before polls opened, Candy Heard said.

“It was dark out here! They were trying to vote early and beat the crowd,” said Heard, the Democratic committee person for the 10 Ward, 4th Division, who was stationed at the nonprofit along the 7200 block of N 21st St.

Around noon, Heard was sitting outside Concerned Black Men in a folding chair and there was no line to vote. Heard said she’s served as a committee person for the past decade and never had she seen so many voters turnout so early.

At least six voters brought their mail-in ballots to the polling place to be “spoiled” so they could instead vote in-person, Heard said.

Deatria Lopez, 56, was working at the polling place at Concerned Black Men for the first time.

2:30 p.m.

Business owners in Center City and other neighborhoods boarded up their shops for Election Day in anticipation for any civil unrest that may follow.

Businesses along Walnut Street in Center City, including the Apple store on the 1600 block, had plywood securely protecting shop windows.

Nearby, the block-long storefronts of the Shops at Liberty Place were boarded up, too.

3:00 p.m.

U.S. Rep Dwight Evans (D-Phila.) says he’s observed that Philadelphia voters are enthusiastic about this election.

“They are voting with a purpose,” he said during an election update held Tuesday afternoon at Relish Restaurant in West Oak Lane.

The restaurant traditionally hosts an Election Day luncheon that draws community members and leaders from the African American community, however the event was held virtually this year due to the coronavirus.

Evans said Vice President Joe Biden has demonstrated the leadership that the country needs.

“When you think about it, it’s important to understand what Vice President Biden means at this particular point,” said Evans, who is up for re-election. “He has demonstrated throughout the campaign the importance of bringing people together.”

Evans said issues such as character, behavior, community development, criminal justice and social justice on the ballot.

“All of these issues are on ballot and our democracy is on the ballot,” he said.

Evans spent the morning visiting polling places in Northwest Philadelphia, South Philadelphia and Wynnefield. He started out by visiting Finley Playground in Northwest Philadelphia where he observed 100 people waiting in line at 7 a.m.

The congressman said everyone was cooperative at all the polling places he visited and he didn’t see any instances of voter intimidation.

“I just saw people that were focused,” Evans says of the voters he observed.

“People understand what is on the line. They understand that democracy is on the line. They understand that they need a change in the White House.”

“These people are very much determined to make a change,” Evans said.

“Washington is not going to change itself. If Washington doesn’t react, we have to make a change. That’s what I say to the people. It’s simple. If you don’t like what you see. Change it.”

3:15 p.m.

Vice President Biden fired up the crowd of about a hundred people before they headed out to canvass in the city's West Oak Lane section.

"I want everybody to understand the public nationwide has figured it out. Not only we're going to be able to overcome this virus by making smart moves. We're going to do it, but it's not the way we're gonna rebuild the middle class," Biden said.

He said he said one of his biggest goals is to put the country back together.

"I'm gonna be an American president. There will be no more red states or blue states, just the United States of America," Delaware's former governor said.

The candidate pumped up the crowd with just hours left until the polls close.

"If you haven't gotten everybody out to vote. We've got to get him out. We're gonna win Because of you," Biden said.

3:20 p.m.

Hours after the polls opened, the District Attorney’s Election Task Force had received 25 election-related complaints.

The overwhelming majority of the complaints related to alleged interference, such as construction or members of the media partially blocking the entrance

to a polling location, according to the district attorney’s office.

The task force resolved 21 incidents by noon.

The district attorney’s office will investigate the unresolved complaints after the polls close.

Election-related issues can be reported to the task force by calling 215-686-9641.

3:45 p.m.

Hundreds turned out in West Oak Lane to knock on doors in hopes of getting people to the polls before they close at 8pm. Markeesha Brooke Wiley came out to help and brought the whole family.

"It's so important that my little ones grow up knowing about the world we live in. I don't really talk to my daughter about everything because she's five and then I have a five month old but I need them to know the importance of voting, making your voice heard and I want them to know that if you want to see a change in your world then it has to start with you," the mother of two said.

She said there was too much at stake to not show up and volunteer.

"I want to see a change. I'm hoping Biden is our guy. The list of issues is long. I want to see a change in racial injustice. I want a president who's gonna bring us all back together and not trying to divide us. I just want to see change. I'm out here, you can't just talk about wanting change you've got to be about," she said.

6:45 p.m.

State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta stopped by the North Philadelphia Voter Activation office on Susquehanna Ave this evening to remind volunteers that even though they are in the home stretch, they are not yet done.

"Every single hour counts. Every single minute counts. Every single vote counts and we have to count every single vote. You know, it really is that simple. People understand what is on the line. And what is on the line is literally everything," he said.

Kenyatta said he's been all over Pennsylvania and Philadelphia today and he's energized by what he sees.

"I saw people who not only recognized what was at stake. Not only recognized Trump wasn't good at his job, but also recognized that there are things in their community that they want to see out of a new administration, and they're voting for it," he said.

He asked that people be patient, even if lines are long.

"Stay in line. If you get there by eight o'clock, you can vote. Sometimes people see a long line, and they're not sure or they are at the back of it, just stay in line. We've heard from the President, over the last couple of weeks, about the chaos and the bad things that were going to happen in Philadelphia. Nothing but good things happen in Philadelphia, including voting out this jackass," he said.

8:10 p.m.

New York Assemblyman and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee Michael Blake spent the last few hours of election day in Philadelphia. He said things look good but we can't take anything for granted.

"We all clearly know what happened in 2016 throughout Pennsylvania. For whatever reason, we did not take care of business as a party. So for those of us in party leadership, it was about sending the message to all the people working hard on the ground. You are a priority for us. It's one thing to read about it but then you see it. You see the lines and you see the energy and you see the numbers. You feel really good that something special is going to happen tonight," Blake said.

He said Black people had too many reasons to vote to end up not doing so.

"Donald Trump said four years ago to black people 'what do you have to lose'. The simple answer has been your life or your businesses or your schools. What more do we have to see, for you to go vote? You probably know someone that's lost their life or has COVID-19. You probably know someone whose job is gone and everything has changed. This cannot continue. If 2020 hasn't awakened us about the impact of policy and politics, I don't know what else will," Blake said.

He said that even though we may not be able to fully call the election because votes will still have to be counted after Tuesday thanks to mail-in, absentee and military ballots, he's pretty optimistic.

"If this progression continues from what we're seeing, I think it may be pretty clear what's happening. We will be saying President Elect Biden, what exact time that will happen I don't know, but I have the same confidence and calm, that I did in 2008 and 2012, working for the Obama-Biden campaign," Blake said.

9:00 p.m.

The polling site located at Joseph Pennell Elementary School in Northwest Philly received an uptick in voters. The site serves voters from two city wards – Ward 1718 and Ward 1727.

Poll workers from Ward 1718 saw a larger number of voters during the morning.

“By the time I got here at 6:15, we already had a line of folks waiting to come in,” said Shante Griffin, a longtime poll worker.

By about 6:30 p.m., staffers received 263 mail-in ballots from the ward and more than 190 voters turned out to cast their votes in person.

“We’re doing great,” Griffin said.

“I told everybody this morning this reminds me of when Obama was running. Everybody just ran out the polls to vote – to make that difference and that’s what it seems like now. But of course with the Electoral College, we don’t know what the turn out might be.”

Donna Williams, an election judge from Ward 1727, said she wasn’t shocked to see the larger turn out from voters.

“They’ve been coming in constantly,” she said.

“They have a mission. They want to get some people out of office and they are showing it.”

According to another poll worker, the ward received 220 mail-in ballots.

Diana Chambers, cast her vote at Pennell Elementary School just after 6 p.m.

“I came out at the last hour because I had to work, but I know my vote counts and I had to get it in there as soon as I can,” said Chambers, who is 31.

“I really want Trump out of office. There’s just too much going on. There is too much violence.”

“I feel like Trump has control basically over our community. It’s like whatever Trump says goes.”

She finds Joe Biden’s willingness to have police officers retrained appealing, particularly since there have been recent incidents of police-involved shootings.

“I just want what’s best for our community, that’s all,” Chambers added.

9:15 p.m.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, 68 election-related complaints were reported to the District Attorney’s Election Task Force and 67 incidents were peacefully resolved.

The vast majority of complaints pertain to alleged interference or electioneering at polling sites.

Most issues involving misunderstandings or miscommunication about voting rules and laws were resolved by Election Task Force prosecutors by phone, and DAO prosecutors and detectives also responded to investigate incidents at polling sites in all six Philadelphia Police divisions. Several incidents will require follow-up by investigators.

The Task Force will continue to be active until election results in Philadelphia County are certified.

Election-related issues can be reported to the task force by calling (215) 686-9641

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