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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Things Going Smoothly At Local Polls

Polls opened this morning at 6 for today's general election, and things seem to be going a lot better than they did during the September primary, when a new, scanner-based voting system caused confusion and minor chaos for voters and poll workers alike (Mayor Bloomberg called the Board of Election's performance that day a "royal screw-up.")

"The first time, it was crazy," said Enrique Cruz, a poll coordinator at St. Brendan's School on East 207th Street in Norwood. Things today, he said, are much better. Voters and workers are more familiar with the new machines. "So far, everything is going fine."

The scene at St. Brendan's was fairly quiet, with just a handful of people there to cast their ballots. One of the site's four scanner machines was down, but Board of Elections officials were on their way to fix it. Poll workers were running low on pens to give out (the new ballots require voters to fill in their choices by hand, like a high school scantron test) because voters kept taking off with them, Cruz said.
Voter turnout was steady this morning at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, on DeKalb Avenue.
There was a bigger crowd at Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, on DeKalb Avenue, and workers there agreed that things were running much more smoothly than they did in September.

"This is much, much better," said poll coordinator Marie Sparks, who said the site has been busy all morning, the turnout steady. By noon, about 60 people had cast their ballots. "And it's still early," Sparks said. "We've still got nine more hours to go."

Workers at both sites expect things to get busiest around 5 or 6 p.m., as people are coming home from work. Polls close tonight at 9.

Mayor Bloomberg, meanwhile, is checking up on potential polling problems via twitter, asking voters to tweet their experience and tag them with the hashtag #nycvotes. You can always go the tradtional route, too, and report any problems by calling 311.

Has anyone voted today? What was your experience like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.


  1. I just left St brendan's and close to 1100 votes had been scanned thus far. None of the booths had pens so we had to ask to borrow from poll workers. Also it is much easier to write in a candidate with these ballots.

  2. I must remember to bring a pen next time! lack of a pen was the only thing that slowed me down. The staff at my poll site said people walked off with them. They need to get tethered pens that actually stay tethered.

    I voted at Vladeck Hall on Hillman Avenue.

  3. the print was too small. if i had a problem reading it, i can't imagine how the elderly or others with sight impairments might be faring.

    when i opened my secret folder i found i had two ballots in there! i guess they would have caught me at the scanner had i tired to use the second one, but to me it was an indication of how frail the security of the system is.

    also, am i the only one who feels uncomfortable voting within eyeshot of others... behind a too-small cardboard partition?

    this is maybe the most important city in the world's (supposedly) most democratic nation. it's pathetic we can't do better than this.

    when i walked out, i was wondering if they were going to make me dip my thumb in a jar of ink.

    why do we always have to settle? when it comes to the foundation of our democracy can't we DEMAND first rate?


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