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Problems At Polling Stations Reported Across NYC

November 06, 2018 - 11:54 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- There are numerous reports of broken voting machines and other problems at polling places across the five boroughs, and officials say today's weather may be partly to blame. 

Voters showing up in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and especially Brooklyn have been tweeting about issues all morning.

There are long lines at polling places as a result of the technical issues, with some voters reporting hundreds of people waiting in line to use one machine. 

Voters took to Twitter to air their complaints to the Board of Elections.

One of them was Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams. He tweeted that only one scanner was working at P.S. 208. 

Barry Hott tweeted that scanners were malfunctioning at P.S. 22 on Staten Island, while Thomas Williams said all the ballot machines were broken at P.S. 103 in the Bronx.

Eugene Resnick tweeted that only one machine was working at Mary D.'s Housing for Seniors in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

"Over 100 people waiting in line @BOENYC, this is ridiculous!" Resnick wrote. 

In Fort Greene, Brooklyn, JJ Noonan said it took almost two hours for him to vote and that many people left P.S. 113 without voting. 

The Board of Elections says it has dispatched technicians to the trouble spots.

Board of Elections spokesman John Zaccone told CBS 2 that new ballots may be to blame.

"We have a two-page ballot for the first time in the history of the City of New York. We're not seeing a higher percentage necessarily of ballot jams, but in the aggregate when you have higher turnout and you have more paper passing through the system, you're going to have some issues," Zaccone said. 

He said rainy clothing may also be getting ballots wet, which could cause issues with the machines.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson echoed Zaccone, saying wet ballots were causing scanners to malfunction at his polling site as well. 

"All scanners are down except one," Johnson wrote. "This is a predictable problem we MUST fix and plan for next time!"

Johnson told WCBS 880 said he has lost confidence in the leadership at the Board of Elections and he believes major changes are needed.

"Today was wholly and totally unaccpetable in New York City for voters who were turning out," he said. "The Board of Elections should've planned for this."

Board of Elections director Michael Ryan blames the scanner problems on soaring voter turnout.

"We're not seeing a higher percentage necessarily of ballot jams but in the aggregate when you have higher turnout and you have more paper passing through the system you're going to have some issues," Ryan said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, encouraged voters to stay in line and tweeted that "NYC deserves so much better." 

"Let’s once and for all get true Board of Elections reforms like early voting so this never happens again," he wrote. 

In a later tweet he called the problems at the polls "absolutely unacceptable."

NYC Votes, a nonpartisan voter engagement campaign, also addressed the problem on its Twitter account. It encouraged voters to call 866-OUR-VOTE to get help.