Breakdown of democracy was more than just mechanics



Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and City Council candidate Cliff Stanton don’t exactly get along, but standing in the middle of a crowded Vladeck Hall in Van Cortlandt Village on Nov. 6, they agreed on one thing: something needs to change about the way New Yorkers vote.

In the wake of an election rife with problems and pandemonium, critics of the city’s Board of Elections want to see the process reformed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the voting process in the city a “nightmare” and Mr. Dinowitz called the voting machines an “unmitigated disaster.” Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Van Cortlandt Village residents experienced the disaster first hand. 

There were reports of long lines at understaffed polling sites, scanner breakdowns and poll workers who took too long to process voters or who asked for identification. Sites ran out of pens for voters to fill out ballots with and voters reported a lack of privacy.  

At PS 81, scanners broke because they were not set up properly. According to multiple sources, the flaps inside the machine were never opened so ballots were falling on top of the closed bin. Eventually, the pile grew and the machine jammed, causing long lines of voters waiting to scan their ballot.

At Vladeck Hall, Mr. Stanton was standing on a line for the 36th Election District. Voters in that ED said they waited as long as two hours to vote. In the afternoon, the line crossed the hall and snaked up a staircase. According to voters, the poll workers took as long as five minutes per person to give a ballot and unlike other election districts, a single person looked up voters by their last name, instead of the book being split in half alphabetically by last name.

Donna Collins posted on The Riverdale Press Facebook page that there were problems at the Arbor on West 235th Street as well.

“Voting at 235th & Arlington was a nightmare. The space there is much too small. Sad to see those with walkers struggle. There was no privacy either. God bless the election workers!!!”

Adam Wisnieski, politics, campaigning, voting, democracy, reform,
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