Residents Cite Patriotism, Duty For, In Some Cases, Driving Hours To Cast Ballot

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy was having a major impact on Election Day in the Tri-State Area.

Lines were out the door at some polling sites, and in some cases voters waited for hours. Some lines were long because people were allowed to vote outside their districts — because of damage from Sandy.

Meanwhile, election officials scrambled to make sure make-shift polling sites were up and running in places like Howard Beach. CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer was in Breezy Point, Queens, where the storm did not take away their patriotism, and determination to vote.

There were two things that struck Kramer about Breezy Point on Election Day — the utter desolation caused by Sandy and the number of American flags still flying. So, it was no surprise that although they are homeless hundreds trekked from far and wide to a makeshift polling place to vote.

“People came from all over to vote,” resident Christine Donnelly said. “As of 10:45 p.m., we had over 400 voters. People are coming to vote. I think it is because people in Breezy Point care.”

Frank McGuire, who is going on 80, and his wife, Maureen, drove an hour and 15 minutes to get to the generator-powered temporary polling place at a local parish hall in Breezy Point.

“It’s what we do in this community, we vote. We’re a very patriotic community. This is the most important vote in my lifetime,” McGuire said.

“I came to vote because of the privilege of being able to vote. It’s so important,” Maureen McGuire added.

After casting their ballots the McGuires, who have lived in Breezy Point for 45 years, took Kramer to their storm-damaged home, past the heartbreaking sight of neighbors’ homes burned to the ground or damaged. Neighbors were also determined to vote Tuesday. Frank McGuire tried to explain why.

“We were brought up in a country. We were Irish immigrants. We came to a country to make a better life and they came here and could do pretty much what we wanted to do because we’re a free country,” he said. “We’re gratified that we have a country like this to live in.”

“Our backbone is patriotism and to get together, stay together, vote and be together as a community, which will never be exactly like it was before,” Maureen McGuire added.

There are many people in Breezy Point like the McGuires. Kramer talked to people living with friends and relatives all over the metropolitan area. Some said they drove two and three hours to vote.

And another ballot note: New Jersey has been so swamped by the demands of displaced residents to participate in the election that it is extending e-mail voting until Friday.

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