Clean sweep for Dems, voters still have ballot issues

In the statewide and local Queens races, it appears to be a clean sweep for the Democrats.

Andrew Cuomo will be the next Governor. Eric Schneiderman will be the next Attorney General. Tom DiNapoli will likely remain the State’s Comptroller (Republican Harry Wilson trails DiNapoli by a very small margin so this likely won’t become official until Wednesday or later).

Meanwhile, the Queens State Senate, Assembly and Congressional seats up for grabs all went to the Democrats with Tony Avella unseating longtime Republican State Senator Frank Padavan and Democratic upstart Ed Braunstein winning an open Assembly seat in a battle with Republican Vince Tabone.

Many eyes were watching the November 2 Election Day in New York because it was the first general election that voters used the new ballots and scanners. The new paper ballots were first used in the September primary, which had an extremely low voter turnout, and many problems with the ballots and at polling sites that day led Mayor Michael Bloomberg to deem the city Board of Elections (BOE) performance “a royal screw up.”

On Election Day, many voters, especially senior citizens, complained about the small type on the ballot, which made it difficult for them to find their candidate.

“My eyes aren’t that great, and they could have made it [the print] a little bigger,” said Robert Conte, who came out to vote at P.S. 130 in Bayside on Tuesday afternoon. “It felt like I was taking the SATs; that’s what it first reminded me of. I don’t know why they changed it.

Poll workers did give voters a magnifying glass to help them read the ballot, but some voters said the device did not help.

“I can’t read the damned thing,” said Leon Ladman, who cast his ballot at P.S. 162. “Even with the magnifier they gave me!”

However, it was not just the ballots that gave some voters problems.

City Councilmember Dan Halloran, who spent the day visiting polling sites in northeast Queens, reported major problems with machines at a number of polling places.

Halloran said that P.S. 107 in Auburndale experienced significant trouble with their machines, having three of the four voting machines down at one time throughout the day. Halloran also reported problems with machines at P.S. 32 in Auburndale, St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing and P.S. 41 in Bayside.

“Some of these calls were put in at noon, and it’s now 3 p.m., and the technicians aren’t even there,” Halloran said.

Halloran said that the machine breakdowns caused long lines in many of the polling places, causing a handful of voters to try another polling site even though they were not able to cast their vote there.

“Their votes are not going to count and that’s a shame,” Halloran said.

Even with the issues on Election Day, most reports indicated that the BOE performed much better in the general election than the primary.


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