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Long Island

Long Islanders cite Election Day polling problems

Long voting lines at the Mastic Beach firehouse

Long voting lines at the Mastic Beach firehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Credit: James Carbone

Long Island voters reported a variety of polling place problems Tuesday, including jammed scanners and long lines, but election officials said most of the issues were minor and to be expected given the heavy turnout.

Lynbrook resident Pam Giallorenzo said one scanner was down at the polling site at Lynbrook Middle School, and voters were told to place their ballots in the machine to be processed later.

“How do I know that they are going to scan it?” Giallorenzo, 67, said. “It’s my privilege to vote and my right and now I don’t even know, is it counting?”

Nassau’s Democratic elections commissioner, David Gugerty, said such problems were addressed quickly.

“It’s absolutely nothing out of the ordinary from what we get in a normal presidential year,” Gugerty said. “I think it has gone even smoother than we may have anticipated, with this type of volume . . . ”

Suffolk County elections officials also reported several problems.

In Lake Ronkonkoma, Gatelot Avenue Elementary School was evacuated for about an hour after police received a report of a possible bomb outside the building.

When police arrived at the polling site at about 3 p.m. to investigate, they found only an abandoned hoverboard connected to some loose wires and a pipe, said Suffolk Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Nick LaLota.

“Were expecting almost 700,000 voters to turn out and we’ve been dealing with the problems very swiftly,” LaLota said.

Statewide, about 650 reports of voting problems had come in to the state Attorney General’s hotline by about 6 p.m., said spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick.

“We received reports of voters with disabilities in Queens, Suffolk and Albany deterred from voting by the long lines,” Spitalnick said.

In New York City, there were reports of poll workers giving out incorrect information. “In at least 10 instances, poll workers were informing voters that they need to vote ‘down the party line,’ ” Spitalnick said.

The city’s Board of Elections issued a bulletin to its workers at 4 p.m. to inform them that voters could split their tickets among parties if they wished, Spitalnick said.

With Rick Brand and Joan Gralla


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