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Woman says she would vote 'if I had to swim here'

Lines moved quickly in the gym of Ames School in Massapequa, a last-minute replacement polling place for another school damaged by the storm. The site was packed Tuesday with voters from the South Shore region that was among the hardest hit on Long Island.

In addition to the official orange signs announcing the polling place change, a file folder with “VOTE HERE” written on it in red marker was taped to the gym doors.

Poll workers said hundreds of voters had come by as of noon and that things were running smoothly.

Neighbors stopped each other outside the polls to catch up and swap stories about Sandy’s aftermath. Many were accompanied by children who were out of school for a seventh day because of the storm.

Sandy, however, could not keep Pat Chiesa, 60, of Massapequa, a nurse, away from the polls.

“If I had to swim here, I would have been here,” she said.

The troubled economy and the lack of jobs “motivated” her to vote, she said, though Chiesa would not say for whom she voted.

Chiesa said that though her home was undamaged, she had spent the last week cleaning out her mother’s home, which she said was “totaled.” Her sister, who also lives in southern Massapequa, “is living in half a house” and afraid to leave it for fear of looters.

“Everyone south of Merrick [Road] is a disaster," said Chiesa’s husband, Jim, 62, a retired stockbroker.

“It’s sad to see your possessions be put back in the trash,” Pat Chiesa said.

Alice Azoulay, 46, of Massapequa, brought her son, Mikey, 8, a third-grader, who said he was glad to again be out of school.

School being closed, Alice Azoulay said, “affects me because I’m a substitute teacher and I’m not getting paid.”

She wouldn’t say who she voted for, but said of the candidates and their campaigns, “I see a lot of B.S., so we don’t know what to believe.

“Whoever’s in office now I’m more familiar with...but we don’t want it to get any worse,” she said of the economy.

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