As a result of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last week, New York City voters are being told they can vote at any polling site they choose.
This message has caused some confusion.
At a polling site in Riverdale, voters were being told this rule is only for people displaced by the storm.
In other parts of the Bronx, voters were being handed affidavit ballots, which are not scanned into the normal machines but placed into envelopes to be counted later. The Board of Elections will open the envelopes and verify the voter’s registration.
At the School of Performing Arts in Hunts Point, site coordinator Altagracia Cruz said more than 50 affidavit ballots had been used by 4 p.m. Including people from as far away as Rhode Island.
“If it’s not their polling site, we give them an affidavit,” said Nancy Corley, the polling coordinator at P.S. 65 in Mott Haven, who only learned about the change in procedure when she showed up at the polling station this morning.
By 6:30 p.m., she said, her site had issued around 1,000 affidavit ballots, and their supplies of forms was running thin.
Corley called the BOE repeatedly to try and get more, but they never showed up.
“I’m sure this is happening all over,” she said.
“I called and called and called some more.”
The polling site at P.S. 185 on Marion Avenue in Fordham ran out of affidavit forms at 4:00 p.m. Voters from other districts, or even voters from the right districts who didnt have their voter cards were being given an ultimatum: wait for new forms or walk to another polling station.
“People are getting frustrated” said Cynthia Thompkins, president of the Precinct 46 community council, who stood outside the station making calls and urging voters to wait. “A lot of people are leaving and not voting,” she said.
Poll workers are noting other factors contributing to the high number of affidavit ballots besides the Governor’s last minute decision — including new districts and people who aren’t registered.
“It’s so surprising,” said Corley. “A lot of people haven’t voted in so long, they aren’t showing up in the register,” she said.
“Hopefully they’ll all get counted.”
With reporting by Rachel Bryson Brockmann, Kathleen Caulderwood and John Sodaro.
Produced in cooperation with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s NYC News Service.