NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Long lines and some problems were reported at polling sites across the Tri-State Area as voters cast their ballots on Election Day.
There were reports of two hour waits at some places in New York City. Lines could be seen stretching down the block at polling sites on the Upper East Side, Brooklyn, Harlem and other locations. But some thought it was all worth it.
Samantha Schreiber found herself stuck in a line that wrapped around two corners outside Yorkville Community School on the Upper East Side. She brought her two kids, and she had to make some bribes of sorts to get them to cooperate.
“We’ve had Doritos, gummy worms, granola bars — whatever works!” Schreiber said.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, Schreiber has never brought sons Isaac and Solomon with her to vote in a presidential election. But she stuck it out.
“It’s one of the most important elections that’s occurred in my lifetime,” she said.
Schreiber and others in the line that wrapped said there has never been an election like this one.
“I have to be able to say I did everything I possibly could,” said Shannon Marcec of the Upper East Side.
“Standing in it — it’s my duty,” said Sean Bonner of the Upper East Side. “It’s all of our duty, right?”
That sentiment was apparent across New York City and New Jersey, with polling places reporting record turnout. But it didn’t go so smoothly for everyone.
Tempers flared over technical problems at the polls inside P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens, Queens, CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported.
“I want to know when somebody’s coming to fix these machines so we can do this,” one voter told a poll worker, “because I’m not putting my ballot in no box so you can all do whatever you want to do with it – it’s not happening!”
“We can’t vote? What happened? The machines are down?” another voter complained.
People spent hours waiting at the school, and their patience grew thin. They wanted to cast their ballots, but they could not, because not all of the scanners working.
“It’s just swallowing the paperwork. It won’t shoot it out,” said Board of Elections Clerk Bryant Brown.
He said he thus did not know if the votes were being counted.
“There’ only one scanner working out of three,” said Nicole Edegbe of Springfield Gardens. “It was really ridiculous.”
CBS2 tweeted with the Board of Elections about the broken scanners in Springfield Gardens. They responded minutes later and arrived on scene to fix the problem.
But similar problems were seen at a polling place on the Upper West side, where a group of five people gathered for CBS2’s cameras and said, “One scanner!” in unison.
“I certainly think it’s very, very poor planning on the part of the Board of Elections that apparently there are only 10 technicians to service all of the machines throughout the five boroughs,” a man said. “We’re down to one scanner at this polling place; polling station, and it’s, you know, it just seems ridiculous.”
In Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife voted at the Park Slope library. He said he’s seen lines everywhere he’s been on Tuesday.
“We saw lines when we left the Upper East side, we’re seeing lines here,” he told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
Voters began lining up before dawn at one polling site on the Upper East Side.
“I’ve been voting here for 20 years, I’ve never seen it like this, this early,” voter Douglas Lawrence told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“The place is packed solid which is a good thing,” said voter Leo McGuire. “Means people are exercising their rights.”
But at a polling site on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem, there were again plenty of unhappy campers.
The list of registered voters was missing when some first showed up.
“I went to vote this morning and I was told the books for was not available,” said resident Francine Taylor.
“I am pissed because it’s unacceptable. It’s not like we didn’t know this election was coming,” said Helen Higginbotham of Harlem. “And how dare them not have the books here ready for us to vote.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer agreed, and said the Board of Elections was not doing its part.
“Too many broken scanners, too many polling places that didn’t open on time. too much chaos at the polls,” Stringer said.
Back in April, more than 125,000 Brooklyn voters had trouble casting their ballots in the New York primary. So Stringer audited the Board of Elections this past June, and the audit showed that board officials completely lost track of nearly 1,500 pieces of equipment – including voting machines.
Stringer vowed to continue looking at Board of Elections practices and procedures until elections run flawlessly.
The mayor, who himself had to stand in line, said the long delays drive home the need for early voting.
“I think it’s great that people care enough to stand in line,” de Blasio said. “But there’s a better way.”
In New Jersey, it took more than an hour before people could vote in Ward F, District 6 at County Prep High School in Jersey City because someone brought the wrong keys for the voting machines. The line eased by 8 a.m.
“I just don’t understand why there’s not enough machines that are working,” said Kate Singer of Jersey City.
At the firehouse on Marin Boulevard in New Jersey City, the line kept going and going and going, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
“My girlfriend has here has been in line for over two hours,” said Hersh Kumar.
“Three hours, but we’re OK the sun is shining,” said Kerry Gill of Jersey City.
Election officials in Burlington County say that a printing error will force it to hand count most of the more than 19,000 mail-in ballots submitted.
Board of Election Chairman Joseph Dugan told the Burlington County Times that dozens of workers are now performing a hand count of the mail-in ballots.
He says that the error was discovered Tuesday morning and that there is no guarantee that all the ballots will be counted by Tuesday night.
Officials say the more than 19,000 ballots returned as of Tuesday morning is a new record for the county. Ballots can be submitted until polls close at 8 p.m.
Hudson County deputy superintendent of elections John Brzozowski says that’s because more people are voting and it’s taking poll workers longer to process them. He also says the ballot is longer and voters are taking their time once their behind the curtain.
He says the county started out with 500 voting machines for 450 districts. His office has added another 13 machines to try to offset the volume of voters.
He says the Jersey City districts with the longest waits are near high-rise apartment buildings.
But in Roselle Park, voting seemed to go smoothly. It was the same on Long Island, as a healthy crowd showed up in Mastic Beach and in Mineola.
Crowds also flocked to polling places in north suburban counties, as CBS2’s Lou Young reported. In Armonk, there was a constant stream of motivated, but mellow voters – and some talk of lines earlier in the day.
“We had a busload come from 90 Business Park Place. There were about 30 of them, and we were mobbed for about 45 minutes,” said poll worker Nancy Gneausit.
“All day, and it’ll be going like that until the polls close tonight,” said site manager Matt Trainor.
At one polling place, they were serving cookies and snacks to voters who seemed delighted to be at the end of the process.
“I just had lunch and the place was packed with people, and everybody was talking about it, and very relieved there’s going to be some finality to it,” one woman said.
But there were some jitters beneath the calm.
“This is the most divisive election I think in all time, at least in my time,” said voter Deborah Charron.
“I think I might be a little more anxious toward when the results start come in, but right now, I cast my vote and that’s all I can do,” said voter Melina Finck.
“There’s more vested in this one, it seems like, than a lot of the others in the past,” said voter Jay Stroud.
Young said people seemed to be looking forward to talking to their neighbors again without getting into political squabbles.
In Hartsdale, a power outage temporarily shut things down earlier Tuesday morning. That site was running on a generator later in the day. The morning glitch did not appear to cause any more problems.
And in Connecticut, officials reported a brisk turnout and some problems.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill expected voter turnout of about 75 percent Tuesday, about the same as it was in 2012. But officials say observations at polling places indicate the turnout number could end up being higher.
Merrill’s spokesman, Patrick Gallahue, says the wrong ballots were delivered to a polling place in northern Hartford and voting went on for more than an hour before the problem was discovered.
Gallahue said the ballots contained the wrong candidate for the state legislature and those votes will be discounted.
Long lines were reported in New Haven, and Merrill advised city officials to get extra staff. Officials also reported a few voting machines broke down in some town.
Clinton was projected as the winner in New Jersey and New York.
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