'Total chaos': Scenes from polling sites throughout New York City
Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg had trouble voting this morning, during an especially hectic Election Day across the city.
With a horde of reporters watching, a poll worker at an Upper East Side elementary school was unable to find Bloomberg's name in the list of registered voters. Then, in violation of election rules, the poll worker turned over the book to Bloomberg, who found his name himself.
The scene was captured in detail by Jill Colvin and Nicole Bode at DNAinfo, and is just one of the troublesome anecdotes plaguing an already difficult Election Day. Old problems (high turnout in an election year, long lines in Park Slope) are combining with new problems (MTA shuttle buses reportedly ignoring voters seeking rides to emergency polling sites in Coney Island).
It is, in short, a mess.
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny—who has been saying that the inadquate storm response could cost him his re-election today—told me he's gotten more than 20 complaints about the MTA shuttle service in Coney Island.
"What's happening is they're just passing by people," Brook-Krasny told me. "They're not picking them up."
When I asked if this wil hurt him electorally, he said, "Absolutely, sure, sure. It's the most liberal part of my district."
There are problems in Manhattan too.
"Total chaos now at Penn South voting precinct. None of the scanners are working. Dozens of people are waiting to cast ballots,"wrote Times reporter Nick Confessore. He also said a voter was inaccurately told that only people displaced by the storm could "vote anywhere today."
(Technically, the rules change the governor announced yesterday applies to all voters, but the public was strongly encouraged to only use the vote-anywhere option if it was a necessity.)
Voters cheered when mechanics showed up to fix the machines.
The stakes are low, in terms of balloting problems, in some downballot races.
Here, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder took a break from cleaning his Far Rockaway home (the "ground zero" of the damage, he said) to vote.
In Bay Ridge, the lines were moving "very slowly, but steadily."
On 14th Street, normally a busy area, the line to vote seemed endless.
In West Harlem, one person said "They desperately need Spanish speakers at PS 192."
Inwood voters had to wait on lines, outdoors.
Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky got voting assistance from a reporter.
Parts of Brooklyn not affected by the storm are just overwhelmed with voters.
WNYC's Andrea Bernstein wrote angrily about her two-hour wait with the hashtags #disgrace and #kafkavote, and noted her Park Slope neighborhood wasn't touched by the storm.
The lines to vote in some poll sites in Park Slope were so long, some voters were stuck in the cold for an hour or more.
"At 1957 Nostrand, PS 269. Can use some additional workers and some crowd control," said Councilman Jumaane Williams.
Lines everywhere: in another Brooklyn polling site.
I went to vote around 8 a.m. on West 109th Street. It took a few minutes, and I was number 59 in my election district. On the way out, there was this huge spread of food, where parents were selling bagels, coffee and homemade pastries to raise money for the school.
NY1's Errol Louis, who waited more than an hour and a half to vote, wrote: "I'd almost feel better if this were some evil partisan plot to steal an election. We don't have even that much logic at work."