Polling places will be open on Election Day, officials say

A voter at the booth at Orangetown Town A voter at the booth at Orangetown Town Hall in Orangetown on Primary Day. (June 26, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim Alcorn

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Voters should be able to cast their ballots without very much trouble on Election Day, Hudson Valley officials said Sunday.

Although Westchester County still had around 55 out of 380 polling stations without power as of Sunday afternoon, officials vowed to bring more online by Tuesday and had backup locations for those polls that won't be ready.

"Most locations will remain the same. Where it's not feasible to use a generator, we'll make the decision tomorrow (Monday) to move the polling place to the next closest polling place," said Doug Coltey, a Republican commissioner on the Westchester County Board of Elections. "The situation is coming under control and is very manageable at this point."

Rockland and Orange counties, meanwhile, had few polling stations without power on Sunday and already were designating alternatives.

"We're looking at a very productive and as normal-as-it-can-possibly-be election," said Lou Babcock, a Republican elections commissioner in Rockland County, who added that 19 out of 80 polls lacked power as of Sunday.

In Clarkstown, Babcock said, residents who normally vote at Woodglen Elementary School instead would go to the New City Elementary School.

In Orange County, the Board of Elections issued a statement with the following changes to polling sites because of power outages: Voters who normally go to Pine Tree Elementary School in Monroe now will vote at the Monroe Senior Center, those who vote at Sanfordville Elementary School in Warwick will go to Warwick Middle School and voters who regularly vote at the Greenwood Lake Elks Lodge in Warwick will cast their ballots at the Greenwood Lake Fire Department station house.

Officials said they planned to post signs and send workers to redirect voters to alternate polls.

Although plenty of people in the area still don't have electricity, the officials didn't see personnel shortages as an issue.

"We have standby workers," said Reginald Lafayette, a Democratic elections commissioner in Westchester County. "We keep on file some 11,000 names. So we're having some of them come in, and if need be we'll plug people in on that day, which is something we've done in the past."

Though past contingency plans helped officials deal with Hurricane Sandy's destruction, they said the storm offered new lessons, too.

Babcock said he never planned to use generators in so many locations. Generators are measured by the wattage they produce, not voltage. So he has been calculating the square footage of polling stations to figure out what kind of generators they might need.

"If you have a lot of square footage, you have a lot of wattage," he said. "No one would ever think of that."

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