New York’s “Little Pakistan” was mostly ignored by the candidates and is largely unaware of the primary election happening today. A report from Feet in 2 Worlds.
Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City who bills himself as a non-partisan technocrat, unloaded some harsh criticisms on the New York City Board of Elections today after reports surfaced of problems at polling locations across the five boroughs. Calling the situation a "royal screw-up," the mayor said his office has received "disturbing" reports about polling places opening two to four hours late this morning, forcing some voters to leave without casting their ballots. He said he has also heard about broken or missing scanners and unhelpful poll workers.
The city spent more than $77 million to buy thousands of new voting machines that now replace the lever machines New Yorkers have used for about 80 years.
The city's first primary day with the new paper ballot system has been bumpy, to say the least. Problems have been reported throughout the five boroughs, and Mayor Bloomberg himself called it a “royal screw-up.” A lot of the problems had to do with the new voting machines that use optical scanning instead of levers to count votes. Some listeners told WNYC that their experience went smoothly, but far more said they had trouble reading the small print, there wasn't enough privacy, the ballot design was confusing, scanners were broken, and, the blooper we feel takes the cake: a few polling stations were even missing ballots.
Attorney General candidate Richard Brodsky has been courting the Russian-speaking community like no other candidate in the AG race. A dispatch from Little Brooklyn's “Little Odessa” from A Feet in 2 Worlds.
"Did they ever get anybody involved who knew anything about visual appearances or clarity or design? Or did it just come about by a bunch of guys sitting around a table saying: I like this one?"
-I ♥ New York designer Milton Glaser
We've been asking you to send in your primary day reports, particularly your experience with the new ballot design. You tell us your stories when you text BALLOT to 30644 and we call you back.
Your reactions so far have been mixed: Some people found the new paper ballots simpler - Jim Petzke said it was as "easy as eating a piece of pie." We had lots of reports of nearly empty polling stations and people who were "in and out in five minutes."
But many of you reported problems. Organisational issues at the polling stations included missing ballots, broken optical scanners and long lines. Wayne Alan Blood wrote to our Facebook page to say that he had been "unceremoniously turned away" because the ballots never arrived.
There were lots of complaints about the paper ballots themselves. Voters called the print "tiny", and the design confusing and difficult to understand.
But the most outrage was voiced over what many of our listeners felt was a lack of ballot secrecy: Meryl Salvinger said poll workers told her to scan her ballot face up "which seems kind of crazy, with a poll worker standing standing right there, looking at it. I didn't really care, but that could be a problem for some people." Another caller, Greg Hofer, was livid:
"My voting booth was two pieces of manila file folders taped together at the end of the poll workers table. Anyone could have walked behind me and seen how I voted. In the forty years that I have voted, and I have never missed an election, this is the first time I felt exposed ... and I was absolutely appalled."
And it's not just the IAFC crowd that is finding trouble, Mayor Bloomberg has called the voting troubles a "royal screw-up."
Below is a running list of the reports we've received, updated throughout the day...
Voting rights advocates are poised with poll watchers, online surveys and phone hotlines to record what they think is going to be a chaotic day as New York City residents try out new electronic voting machines for the first time in the September 14 primary.
-City Hall Editor Edward-Isaac Dovere on The Brian Lehrer Show.
-Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women on The Leonard Lopate Show
Singer/songwriter Carole King brought you the song “You’ve Got a Friend.” Hip-hop impessario Russell Simmons brought the song “Walk This Way.” Now, they’re bringing you rival congressional candidates.
New York City's major newspapers are starting to offer their endorsements for candidates in Tuesday's primary. Here's the list, and we'll continue to update as they come in. And be sure to visit It's A Free Country's Insider's Guide to the Primary for lots more information.
As you have been hearing, one of the big story lines this election season is the switch to a new ballot design. Will your experience be like Brian and Azi's (not so smooth)? WNYC and It's A Free Country want to know. Text BALLOT to 30644 to share your experience using the new paper ballot. We'll text you back with all the instructions you need. On primary day, we'll be using your stories to enhance our coverage.Text right now and you'll receive a reminder on primary day. (Your carrier's standard messaging rates apply.)
The eyes of the city's political class are focused on New York's 33rd Senate district in the northwest Bronx, where State Senate Majority Leader and Albany coup architect Pedro Espada is running for re-election against new-comer Gustavo Rivera. But many people in the neighborhood are unaware of next Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Under state and federal scrutiny over allegations that he illegally pocketed millions from a community health care network, state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada faces a well-organized challenger in Gustavo Rivera.
As more Asian-Americans take interest in public office, Flushing, Queens is becoming an increasingly competitive arena where any position is hotly contested. Koreans are the latest group to try to use Flushing as a springboard to political power.
Welcome to It's A Free Country's The Mix, where we take some of the notable Politics Bites clips from the week and mix 'em up. Here's what we've got on tap. Voices are in blue, connections are in bold.
Daisy Khan on the controversy over the Park51 mosque and cultural center, a development that NY gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio opposes. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand supports Park51, but her opponent in the Democratic primary, Gail Goode is mounting a campaign to unseat the first-term Senator. Another candidate looking to bring new voices to the table is Kevin Powell, in NY's 10th congressional district, against long-time Congressman Ed Towns. The Powell-Towns race is one of many interesting races this Fall that are bringing unknown candidates into the spotlight, a phenomenon that got New York Times columnist Gail Collins thinking (see: Jan Brewer's 16 seconds of silence).
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio first made headlines when he challenged Hillary Clinton in her run for the U.S. Senate. Now, ten years later, he's back again and waging a fiery campaign against his Democratic opponents, but his talk mostly concerns one issue: the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in downtown Manhattan.
Hiram Monserrate, who was forced to resign from the NY State Senate after being convicted of attacking his girlfriend, is trying to stage a political comeback. And experts aren't counting him out. A dispatch from the campaign trail in Queens' 39th District.
We know that our junior unelected Senator was appointed by an accidental Governor and that New Yorkers should have a choice, they should have a choice of a real Democrat, and I believe that I am that real Democrat.
--Democratic challenger Gail Goode on The Brian Lehrer Show