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Smooth voting in Mastic Beach, affidavit ballots popular

While voters swapped stories of misery from Sandy, the actual process of voting seemed to be smooth sailing at the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association on Tuesday, voters and election coordinators said.

More than 900 people had voted before 5 p.m., said election coordinator Beatrice Rubsam. No problems with the scanners were reported, but many voters used affidavit ballots, she said. The polling site had gone through about 200 affidavit ballots by early evening, she said, with displaced voters coming from all over Long Island and New York City. Two voters from Florida and Connecticut were even able to vote, albeit only for the president.

Voters said the difficulties from the storm and gas shortages didn’t deter them from voting in what many called a critical presidential race.

“This year it was different,” said Nicholas Gatto, 41, a Mastic Beach resident who was recently laid off from his job with a tech company. He voted for Romney because “we need a change,” he said, and said the economy was the most important issue to him.

He also hoped the electorate will rally around the next president. “The community has to follow,” he said. “It’s like an army.”

“I would have walked here on my kneecaps. It’s very important to me,” said Jennifer Carritue, 41, who works in retail and lives in Mastic Beach. She voted for Obama and every other Democrat candidate, though she opted to vote for them on the Working Families line when it was an option.

“I believe that things have happened with him,” she said. “Especially since we went through this hurricane. He took care of people.” She said she didn’t follow the local races.

Beverly Schmitt, of Mastic Beach, said the storm didn’t deter her from voting. She also voted for a straight Democratic ticket. “I voted for Obama because I think he’s going to do a good job, and I don’t believe what Mitt Romney says,” she said. Schmitt said she did follow the Tim Bishop-Randy Altschuler Congressional race and voted against Altshuler because “I don’t believe he’s going to do what he says he is going to do.”

Cindy White-Magee, 47, a school secretary from Mastic Beach, said the storm’s difficulties made her even more set to go vote for the Democratic ticket. “Sometimes it looks like an obstacle but it just makes you more determined,” she said of the storm coming right before Election Day.

Independent voter Joan Kennedy, 52, a retired civil servant from Mastic Beach, said she voted for Obama again and all Democratic candidates. “I didn’t mind coming out,” even though she is trying to conserve gas. “I feel this election is more important than the last one.”

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