New York City primary voters outraged by broken machines, closed polling places
BY JASON SILVERSTEIN
New York primary voting at some Brooklyn and Queens polling places was a disaster Tuesday morning — with early morning voters arriving to broken machines and belated polling.
Queens resident George Mack said he came to P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens to vote right at 6 a.m. He, and about 50 other early voters, learned all three machines on site were broken. Volunteers at the school told voters to place their ballots in a slot, and they would all get processed later.
“It’s a recipe for disaster,” said Mack, 55, who voted for Hillary Clinton.
“Somebody at the end of the day is gonna feed (the ballots) through a machine? I don’t have confidence in that.”
Meanwhile, voters at the Cooper Park Houses in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, couldn’t even get close to a machine. More than two hours after polls were supposed to open at 6 a.m., that site was still closed.
“Cooper Park Houses polling site not open yet,” voter Rebecca Keith tweeted.
“Good morning disenfranchisement.”
A similar snafu happened at the Atlantic Terminal site in Brooklyn, which didn’t open until after7:30.
“They told me the key to the building had not arrived yet,” voter Tara McCauley told The News.
“I came back at 7:30 and they had just gotten the key. Upon entering, there were no voting machines.”
A Board of Elections representative arrived around 8, she said, and told voters he had been busy tending to problems at other polls. Voting finally started at Atlantic Terminal around 8:30.
“I am sure there are many people who tried to vote and had to leave who will not be able to come back,” she said.
The ballot box blusters extended outside the five boroughs, too.
William Charpied, of Hempstead, said the first half hour of voting at Hewlett Elementary School was lost because the poll’s chairman hadn’t arrived, and no one else could unlock machines.
“I felt disenfranchised and dumbfounded,” Charpied said.
“It is difficult to understand how volunteers could be present while the single most important individual, the chairperson, was missing.”
New York City Board of Election Executive Director Michael Ryan called the mass voting mishaps “absolutely unacceptable.”
“You know it’s a big city,” Ryan told The News outside Atlantic Terminal.
“I’m not making an excuse for that, I’m just pointing out that like everything else in New York City it’s a very large process.”
He vowed he would “get to the bottom” of the polling problems.
Polls for New York’s closed primary close at 9 p.m.
More than 200 New York voters have joined a lawsuit claiming they were unfairly shut out of the primary after their party affiliation was changed without their consent.