VERY LONG WAITS, CONFUSION REPORTED AT UWS POLLING SITES; SEE WHAT OUR READERS ARE REPORTING


The line at PS 75, where we heard numerous reports of people waiting more than two hours. Photo by Meg D’Incecco.

Upper West Side voters had widely varying experiences at the polls today, with some getting to vote quickly while others stood in line for more than two hours and received confusing instructions.

We heard some particularly frustrating stories from voters who cast ballots at PS 75 on 95th Street.

Ashira Konigsburg met people on line there who had arrived at 8:30 a.m. and were still there at 10:30. “This could have been run so much more efficiently,” Konigsburg said.

One of our commenters said: “I am all for waiting and voting, if it’s an efficient process but I waited for 2.5 hours at PS75, and It was completely disorganized and out of control. The first 1.5 hours we kept moving, only to find out another entrance was then opened. Ended up waiting another hour to allow people who did not have wait as long to join in the mix. Disgusting and completely unfair! In addition this new and improved voting system is completely inefficient and archaic!”

There are numerous other stories like that below.

Konigsburg says to call 866-NYC-VOTE to file complaints. We are hearing troubling things about voting in other parts of the city too, including a polling station downtown with paper ballots sitting out on a table with no one around, so that people could presumably take multiple ballots. It’s not clear why this process is so disorganized — it’s not like we don’t have a tremendous amount of data on how many people vote in each area. We have a call in to Gale Brewer, who oversees the Board of Elections.

The three pictures below are from @FriendsofJodi. The top two are from 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam, where Jodi said three of the machines were broken and there were long lines and confusion. The bottom picture is from 77th Street. Below that, we have updates from other West Siders on their experiences via twitter. And read through the comments for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashira Konigsburg had waited 15 minutes to get this close to the polling site at PS 75 on 95th:

 

 

 

 

 


Ashley later told us she was actually voting at PS 811, at 466 W End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the mayor is reportedly confused by why this process seems to be such a mess:

 

In the afternoon and evening, we heard from more readers:

 

 

 

 

Around 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 

For our full voting guide, click here. Let us know how your experience went by contacting us on twitter, facebook or emailing info@westsiderag.com.

NEWS | 23 comments | permalink
    1. Cato says:

      PS 53/811, WEA at 82: About a half hour (9:30 to 10:00 am), but as disorganized as can be. Too many people in too small a space, and too little guidance once inside. Everybody seems to be good humored so it’s tolerable.

      Would move much faster if they steered the crowded lines better, and if more of the scanners present were actually put to use.

      The new, “improved” voting system really makes me pine for the good old days of enter the booth, pull the little levers, pull the big lever, leave. Ah, progress!

    2. Steven Barall says:

      GOOD!!!!! There should be long lines to vote. Voting matters. Everyone who has ever served in our military did so so that we can vote! Think of those who fought in our wars and never made it home again or those who only partially made it home, think of what they sacrificed. They gave up more than an hour of their time on a beautiful sunny day. Go out and VOTE. NOW !!!!!!!!

      • Cato says:

        Huh?? My father served in World War II — came home and voted in a voting machine that took a couple of minutes. How does the military service of some (which I appreciate) mandate that everyone now needs to wait for hours to do something that used to take minutes??

        What does one thing have to do with the other?

        Voting has suddenly, inexplicably and unjustifiably turned into a frustrating and vexing process. Yes, we have to vote — but why did it have to be made so difficult when for so many years — so many generations — it worked smoothly and efficiently?

        Please wave your flag elsewhere. People are complaining about the sudden confusion of the electoral process. No one is complaining about the obligation — the privilege — to vote.

    3. Christine says:

      Yes – 90 minute wait at 8am this morning at the Church of St. Paul/St. Anthony at 86th/WEA…made pleasurable thanks to the Church allowing us to use their sanctuary to come in from the cold…and the homemade muffins and treats and coffee they were freely distributing. Very nice, UWS! Thank you!

    4. NikFromNYC says:

      “You can’t change Washington from the inside…. You can only change it from the outside.” – O

    5. AM says:

      At 97th btw Columbus and Amsterdam and its chaos. Just awful.

      • AM says:

        People with nametags/badges kept coming outside telling people that if you knew your district you didnt have to wait on outside line so people got off the line, went in, and then were sent back out. This happened over and over and over. So… wait on line to find out your district (even if you know it), then wait on line to get your ballot (make sure you’re at the right district and the right last name, not clearly marked), then wait on line for a privacy booth (many without pens and so close to the wall that wheelchairs couldnt fit thru), then finally wait on line to insert your ballot into the scanner. And of course find your way out thru all these intersecting lines.

    6. NikFromNYC says:

      111th/Riverside no line outside but a snaking line inside for over an hour. Do Columbia students go elsewhere? I didn’t see any.

    7. connie says:

      At 35 W 92 it was chaos! no one knew what was going on, I waited 1.5 hours. Not everyone can stand or wait that long!

    8. Ekta says:

      I am all for waiting and voting, if it’s an efficient process but I waited for 2.5 hours at PS75, and It was completely disorganized and out of control. The first 1.5 hours we kept moving, only to find out another entrance was then opened. Ended up waiting another hour to allow people who did not have wait as long to join in the mix. Disgusting and completely unfair!
      In addition this new and improved voting system is completely inefficient and archaic!
      Thank you for letting me vent! I look forward to formally complaining.

      • Jeannette says:

        Waited over two hours at PS75 this afternoon. I’ve voted over four times in past here and NEVER lines like this. Too many people from other districts (not displaced, just found it “easier” to vote here!) Not their fault though, physically not enough space to accommodate workers and voters. Could have spread machines and tables out over two rooms. Poor planning. Plus as others noted, the volunteers kept calling some districts to come up and then, didn’t take the people in. All it did was give a pass to front of line for people and pushed the line back even further.

        Worse, people with walkers, canes, etc. NOT told they should go to head of line. Had to find a volunteer to help woman behind me. Not everyone who wants to vote can stand in line, nor should they have to

        Note to the governor: We need to be allowed to vote in advance and you need to get people in to overhaul the whole process.

        Once you got in, nobody at many of the tables, just physically not enough privacy booths and machines to scan. Poor planning.

      • Amy Cham says:

        I was also at PS 75. Waiting an hour and a half to get to the door. Another 20 creeping up the stairs. When we got inside, it was absolute chaos. Almost no signage and bizarre overlapping lines wrapping around tables.

        I don’t know how anyone elderly, disabled, or toting young children (which I hear some schools actually encourage for some sort of extra credit) managed to stay through the whole process and actually vote.

        The staff I encountered were handling things as well as they could, though. I saw some taking abuse from voters, but managing to be helpful to the next person who came along.

    9. Judy Amory says:

      One hour 45 minutes at P.S. 75. Lines have doubled since I went in, now stretching down West End Avenue to 95th St. and another 50 yards down 95th St. Completely unnecessary, just crammed too many voting districts into one tiny school gym. The tables to check in were actually empty, workers idle, booths and scanners free — they just couldn’t let more people into the gym because it was packed.

    10. Jane L says:

      An hour and a half at La Guardia High School for ED 28. But only for those (like me) whose last names start with A-L! Voters M-Z in ED 28 and those in other districts had much shorter waits. People dropping out of line, pledging to come back later. Hope they do!

    11. Magistra says:

      Waited from 1:38-3:55 for a ballot at PS75. Mercifully filling it out and scanning took 2 minutes.

    12. Kathleen says:

      At PS 84 (92nd street between CPW and Columbus) it took a total of 50 minutes (arrived at 3:15 pm). When I left just after 4 pm the line was a bit longer. There were 4 scanners at the facility but only one scanner is working. People were very frustrated but I personally don’t think an hour in line is too bad. There should have been a special line or accommodations for elderly voters.

    13. Catherine says:

      45 minutes this morning at PS 165 on 109th Street (8:20 – 9:05 am). It was pretty chaotic and felt like there were too many districts in one too-small (and hot) space. My district had one of the longest and slowest lines, while for others people could just walk right up to the table, which was a bit frustrating. When I got to the front of my line I realized part of the problem was the poll volunteers were spending too much time arguing about how to hand out the ballots rather than just doing it. There were not enough privacy booths (and people didn’t want to wait on yet another line) so people were just marking their ballots in the open while waiting on line to drop them in the scanners. This was my first time voting on the UWS; I was formerly a Battery Park City resident for 6 years and usually just walked in and out there. Not a terrible experience, but it definitely seems like efficiency could be improved.

    14. caitlin says:

      voted at around 3:00pm at West 92nd street school. Really, I don’t understand why there ca’t be signs posted clearly and in a range that most people can see that tell you what line to be in. Also, very disturbing – when I got to the scanner, the man took my ballot and started to read it – NOT HIS BUSINESS. I and a few other people were startled that this man was doing this and he was apparently the supervisor. He kept saying he was only helping but how about you tell people how to scan rather than trying to take the ballot out of people’s hands, reading their ballots and scanning them in. The invasion of privacy is very, very disturbing.

    15. Ken says:

      After facing lines out the door and down the block on 89th street at PS 166 this morning and having to get to work, tonight we were barred from entering the building at 9:02pm. There were two of us on the steps of the school. One man physically blocked the entryway for one set of doors with his body while a second man held the second set of doors door shut from the inside with his hands to prevent us from entering the building. I could see through the windows there were still many people inside. The entire West Side was a parking lot tonight with the Holland Tunnel still closed but we still got there. It was 9:02 on my iPhone. I get it, but not really.

      • anne buckley says:

        Voted at Marseille House at 103rd off Broadway. Too small and two of the three scanners not working. Went back later with my sister who was voting with an affidavit. There was a woman working there who definitely had some issues. Not sure of the qualifications for working but she shouldn’t have been there. She was confusing things and not helping. Not what we need for voting!

    16. JD says:

      Similarly bad experience at Schwab house. After waiting in line for hour and a half, an entire group was moved to the front so it took an extra 35/40 mins. Very crowded and inefficient. One of the workers mentioned something about a fire hazard because there were too many people in the room. Residents were also given priority voting, which seems unfair in a public election.

    17. Liz says:

      Board of Elections never informed people in my building that our polling place had been moved from W. 76th Street to W.73rd Street. Only found out after going to old polling site.

      New polling site had poor layout and info table was not easy to find. Once negotiated through the system voting was relatively easy — only about 15 minutes in all.