Long lines and affidavits: Inside NY’s polling stations

A voter casts a ballot at P.S. 234.

Metro reporters were around the boroughs today, interviewing voters and identifying potential problems. Here is a peek inside voting booths this morning around the city:

Business as usual in Brooklyn

It was smooth sailing at the Williamburg voting booths today.
Accompanied by her two young daughters, Mary Ciccotto, encountered no lines when she went to cast her vote. Ciccotto was barely affected by Hurricane Sandy, she said.
Her home never lost power – just Internet, one of her daughters said. Ciccotto said her parents, who live on Long Island, went back to their home despite not having power, so they could vote there.
Another voter, Jerami Bellofatto added that he is lucky he has a flexible work schedule, which allowed him to vote at 11 a.m.
He encountered no lines at the Williamsburg voting booths and said Brooklyn was business as usual after Hurricane Sandy. As a bike messenger, Bellofatto had a few days off from work, as he couldn’t get into Manhattan.
“I didn’t lose power, and transportation is still a little difficult, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Bellofatto said he was pleasantly surprised how New York has gotten back on its feet just after a week of the hurricane. “Especially here, but even in the city, people are back to being New Yorkers.”

Affidavit ballots accompany New York voting booths

Met with long lines at her actual polling place near her home in Kew Gardens, Queens, Meryam Bukhari, 23, opted to take advantage of the governor’s executive order and vote by affidavit at a Wall Street polling station on her way to work.

She wondered if the storm had something to do with the crowds at her local polling place.

“My neighborhood was largely unaffected,” Bukhari said. “But I think a lot of people from neighboring areas might be voting in my area if they can’t vote in theirs.”
At another downtown location, a young man asked a polling attendant at the scanner about his ballot, as he was voting by affidavit. He said that he had been told he could only vote in the presidential race, and wanted to confirm that was true.

The attendant at the scanner shrugged. “I’m not sure what to tell you,” he said.

Voters casting ballots by affidavit can have their votes counted for the presidential and Senate races, but not for local races.

Despite evacuation, voting anyway

First-time voter Eamon Goebel, 21, was living at the edge of the evacuation zone and attending PACE University.

“I was technically two blocks away, but I got a call from my parents, they said I should probably get out,” he said.

So he went to stay with his sister on 168th Street for a week.

Goebel voted for Obama, he said, but didn’t know anything about local elections.

“I just voted Democrat the whole way down,” he said. “Most of them showed up under Working Families, and I’m pretty sure I belong to one of those.”

Television producer Candice Spielman was also voting at that location, though as a Sandy evacuee, she had looked online to double-check her polling place, and had originally been sent to 66 Frankfort Street.

When she got there, they didn’t have her information, and told her she would have to do an affidavit ballot.

Spielman decided to try her old polling location at 81 New Street and found it was open.

“I wanted to make sure I could get the ballot scanned in,” she said, concerned about any delay from waiting for someone else to verify and scan the affidavit ballot.


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