Post-Sandy paper ballots cross borders, with maybe a delay or two

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The Queens office of the New York City Board of Elections, for some reason, had a number of affidavit ballots from displaced Nassau voters delivered to Suffolk’s Board of Elections, officials said Wednesday.

The paper ballots were to be re-routed to Nassau, officials said. This incident was one of a thousand small but unusual episodes in an electoral season that saw major operational changes forced by superstorm Sandy.

For one, the state decided a few days before Election Day to allow people staying outside their home districts to file paper ballots at any polling station. They could vote only in federal, state or local races where the candidates on the ballot were the same as those on their home-district ballots. In many cases, that will mean many out-of-town votes will apply only to the presidential and U.S. Senate races.

Thousands of these remote votes were heading to their home districts ahead of next week, when the counting of unscanned machine ballots and other paper commences. Given a Sandy-extended absentee ballot deadline of Monday, the counting at election boards commences Tuesday and continues Wednesday before the long Thanksgiving weekend break.

William Biamonte, Nassau’s Democratic election commissioner, said more than 30,000 affidavit ballots are being researched to determine validity before tabulation.

In New York City, the election board was still working without its usual phone lines and faxes, owing to Sandy-related flooding in lower Manhattan, although Internet connections have been restored.

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