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Voting and speed-dialing LIPA

Sheri Goodstadt voted for the president of the United States, as well as local officials, with her cellphone to her ear.

When she walked out of her polling place at St. James Elementary School -- not looking particularly inspired -- the phone was still to her ear, though she wasn't talking.

"Fifty-six minutes," she said, revealing the running time of her phone call and the saved number she was dialing: LIPA. "No one is answering. I've been nine days without power and no one is answering."

Goodstadt, 53, said she was so angry about her situation at home, especially after half of her neighborhood got power restored two days ago, that her husband had to persuade her to go out and vote.

"I haven't seen a TV in nine days," she said. "I have no cell service at my home. I have no idea what's going on. I did not want to vote. I'm just really angry."

The only information she's received about the election recently? "Tim Bishop's camp keeps calling my cellphone to tell me to vote," she said. "This is my only line in and out and Tim Bishop calls it. I only have 40% battery left and nowhere to charge my phone."

She tried not to let her anger cloud her judgment, she said. Locally, she voted for Bishop anyway.

Pat and Adele Caruso, 63 and 66, respectively, also of St. James, also said they felt disconnected from the political process.

Still without power at home, the couple has been listening to NPR as their only means of staying connected.

"We've been out of the loop," Pat Caruso said. "we have no TV, no news, there's not a lot of information. Our minds were already made up but it would have been nice to be in that news loop leading up to the election."

Nydia Maldonado, 51, of St. James -- with newly restored electricity -- said she was concerned with so many of her friends and neighbors out of power that voter turnout would be low, but that didn't seem to be the case.

"A lot of people came," she said. "a lot of friends have been here."

The limited access to information didn't bother Maldonado, perhaps because she already had her mind made up: Obama deserved another chance.

"I think he's doing OK," she said. "you're always going to have to clean up from the president before you. These four years he had a lot to clean up, the next four years are his."

Still, Goodstadt, who admitted she would typically be more interested in the election, was only concerned with one kind of cleaning up.

"I'm going back to a freezing cold house," she said, adding that her family has a small generator they've been using to get by, but one by one, it has been burning out her appliances. "How can they leave us in the dark?"

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