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Problems Plague Polls in NJ, NY

Monday, November 05, 2012

Casting a ballot at one of New York's consolidated polling sites. (Stephen Nessen)

Election day is over but the official counting continues in New York and New Jersey due to Sandy-related voting complications.

Voters faced hour-long lines, new poll sites and — at least in New York City — the first presidential election with new electronic voting machines. A last-minute executive order issued by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed voters to cast affidavit ballots anywhere, which also led to strains in New York’s fragile voting system.

Alice Lin was one of those who voted by affidavit ballot, but it wasn't easy. She's registered to vote in Coney Island, where her parents live, but which is in the evacuation zone. Lin didn't even bother going to her Brooklyn poll site after hearing about Cuomo’s order and instead tried to vote near her work in midtown Manhattan, where she ran into another problem. “They ran out of affidavit ballots five hours ago,” she said.

Lin went to two other sites and each one was out of ballots. She finally cast her ballot at the third polling site she tried.

A City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez says the city only printed 250 affidavit ballots per election district, and didn't have time to order extras. She also says the board barely had time to tell poll workers about the Governor's change -- adding to the confusion.

Counting of ballots in New Jersey will also continue after the state extended a deadline to submit ballots by fax or email until Friday.

The state made the change after clerk’s offices said they were inundated with requests for electronic ballots from voters affected by Sandy. Voters in New Jersey still had to get applications from electronic ballots in by Tuesday.

Several voters tweeted WNYC at #NYVotes or #NJVotes about problems they encountered. Read and see some of the problems below:

 

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