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Opinion

McKinstry: Count on Election Day delays

This May 3, 2010 file photo shows a

This May 3, 2010 file photo shows a "vote here" sign near a polling place open. Photo Credit: AP

If only we had those manual lever machines, then Tuesday’s election night count would be easier to tally.

Those days are long gone.

Officials in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and New York City are facing unprecedented challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and since this is a presidential election year, those problems will only be compounded as turnout will be larger than normal.

But still, elections commissioners throughout the Hudson Valley say that even though electricity won’t be restored to all polling stations, voters will be able to cast their ballots.

We should be so lucky. But election night seems destined for challenges.

Given some snafus in recent years with the new electronic scanning machines, particularly in New York City and Westchester County, you’ve got to believe that Tuesday will be a very long, long day for the counters.

Close races won’t be known for days, if not longer. Frustration levels will be high.

If you don’t believe me, consider that it took the elections board weeks to sort out close races with the Westchester County Board of Legislators in 2011. Turnout was low. There was no Sandy nor power outages.

In New York City, Mayor Mike Bloomberg expressed his doubts this weekend as he said the city’s Board of Elections couldn’t even agree on an executive director in recent years. You get the sense Bloomberg was giving the city’s elections board a vote of no confidence.

In Westchester County, elections bosses report that 55 of the county’s 380 polling places remain without power, but they believe Election Day will be manageable as more buildings will have power Tuesday and others will be able to tap into emergency generators.

In Rockland, where 19 out of 80 polling sites are without power, and in Putnam County, officials are already coming up with alternative plans at specific sites.

That’s good since these changes gives voters some advanced notice. Hopefully, it’s enough.

Voters should count on some delays and inconveniences. Poll workers can expect them.

To learn more about polling changes, log onto the state Elections website: http://www.elections.ny.gov/

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