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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Broken scanners = Election Day chaos

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
MARISOL DíAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
Vladeck Hall in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative was packed with voters waiting on long lines Tuesday night.

Thousands of Riverdale and Kingsbridge residents who showed up excited to vote at polling sites on Tuesday walked away disgusted and shaking their heads after waiting on long lines or encountering problems with the voting system.

Because of a power outage at Manhattan College caused by superstorm Sandy, the Board of Elections moved the poll site at its Draddy Gymansium to the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale on the Henry Hudson Parkway. 

About 90 voters showed up to Manhattan College expecting to vote, but realized that they couldn’t. The BOE did little to notify the public of the change. Its own website was not updated until Monday, even though local politicians were spreading the word two days earlier. 

The BOE posted a small sign at the entrance to Draddy and Riverdalian Sue Ellen Dodell, who works for the New York City Campaign Finance Board, volunteered to stand at the entrance and direct voters to HIR.

Toni Butler, 60, and two of her neighbors walked around Broadway with signs on Monday and Tuesday to let people know of the polling site change. But the site change was the least of her problems. She said it took her more than an hour to vote because she was given two slightly torn ballots.

The Press heard two complaints from voters about a poll worker at HIR telling people loudly that she was a Republican and that she was proud of it, and that same poll worker was asking people for identification. 

“I’ve been in New York my entire life, I have never seen anything like this,” Ms. Butler said.

At the poll site located in Manhattan College’s engineering building on Corlear Avenue, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said a member of his staff was asked for ID to vote, which is against the law, so he notified the coordinator, who made an announcement at the site.

Polling sites at the Schervier Nursing Care Center, PS 81 and Vladeck Hall had problems with its scanning machines on Tuesday, causing long, snaking lines and mass confusion. 

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