Nov 6, 2012
Voters Face Chaos, Long Lines
Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a neck-and-neck election. Update: Voters face crazy lines, closed polling places and communication gaps.
Update 4:30 pm
NY Daily News
Crazy lines, closed polling places and communication gaps brought more than the usual chaos to Election Day in the city.
Superstorm Sandy left some voting sites without power and many New Yorkers living far from home. A last-minute state order allowed voters to cast affidavit ballots at any site, but there was plenty of confusion about them.
Even in areas of the city not slammed by the storm, voters waiting to choose a president faced long waits because of broken optical-ballot scanners and a shortage of experienced poll workers. Officials said some sites opened late and one in the Rockaways ran out of generator fuel.
“I kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third world country?’” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The government watchdog group NYPIRG/Common Cause said that by 11:30 a.m. it had received “hundreds of calls from frustrated voters.”
“The election is depressingly familiar,” the organization said in a statement. “It's clear many New Yorkers will need a lot of patience if they want to cast a ballot.”
Reactions ran from that sobering assessment to downright exasperation.
“This is outrageous, disgraceful and disrespectful to what voting should be,” Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said after a visit to a Flatbush church where only one small room had been set aside for the election in the morning.
At other sites, he said, poll workers were giving out misinformation. One facility briefly shut its doors because of crowding. Another turned away voters, he claimed.
At the the Vanderveer Park/United Methodist Church on Glenwood Road in Flatbush, Arlonne Pierre waited two hours on line before she got fed up and started organizing voters.
“There was no line,” she said. "I vote here all the time, and all of a sudden it was total chaos. They told us to come out and vote, but then they weren't prepared to receive us.
Update 2:00 pm:
A number of Crown Heights residents told COLlive they waited over 2 hours to cast their vote at local polling stations, although there was not much of a line at at least one location at President St. and Brooklyn Avenue at 2:00 pm.
Update: 1:30 pm
Voters are being met with waits as long as an hour and a half at many of the city's more than 1,1000 polling places. Though Governor Cuomo issued an executive order yesterday that let New Yorkers displaced by the storm cast their vote by affidavit at any polling place, confusion continued to mount after the new locations for dozens of polling places were announced just two days ago.
Voters were encouraged to double check their polling place location on the Board of Election's website or use its Smartphone app. The adjustment has caused disarray at some locations as poll workers struggle to determine which voters require paper ballots and affidavits. The BOE said it is not requiring people to provide proof they were displaced by Sandy in order to vote at a polling place other than their assigned location.
Washington - After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states.
Polling stations opened across the eastern United States and parts of the Midwest as Election Day dawned. At least 120 million people were expected to render judgment on whether to give Obama a second term or replace him with Romney.
Their decision will set the country’s course for four years on spending, taxes, healthcare and foreign policy challenges like the rise of China and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
National opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democratic incumbent has a slight advantage in several vital swing states - most notably Ohio - that could give him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.
Romney, the multimillionaire former head of a private equity fund, would be the first Mormon president and one of the wealthiest Americans to occupy the White House. Obama, the first black president, is vying to be the first Democrat to win a second term since Bill Clinton in 1996.
Fueled by record spending on negative ads, the battle between the two men was focused primarily on the lagging economic recovery and persistent high unemployment, but at times it turned personal.
The close presidential race raises the prospect of a disputed outcome similar to the 2000 election, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to deal with possible voting problems, challenges or recounts.
The presidential contest is now likely to be determined by voter turnout - specifically, what combination of Republicans, Democrats, white, minority, young, old and independent voters shows up at polling stations.
Weather could be a factor. Much of the nation was dry and mild, though rain was forecast later on Tuesday in the Southeast, including Florida, an important swing state.
Obama and Romney raced through seven battleground states on Monday to hammer home their final themes, urge supporters to get to the polls and woo the last remaining undecided voters.