9/22/12

Chaos at the Polls on Primary Day in Brooklyn

On Primary Day, September 13, there were widespread reports of voter confusion in Brooklyn as a result of re-districting -- and inadequate instructions from the city Board of Elections.

Frustrated voters complained of being ping-ponged from one voting site to another as overwhelmed poll workers struggled to cope with the chaos.

Few people were notified that polling places had been changed.  Not even poll workers had gotten updated information from the BOE.

One local politician said he'd "never seen it so bad."

The article from the Daily News.

Related coverage from the Home Reporter.

Ultraviolet voter information page for New York State.

DeBlasio and ANIMAL New York Team up to Facilitate Voting
 
As a result of the widespread confusion on Primary Day about poll locations and voting procedures, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has teamed up with ANIMALNewYork.com to help voters get the job done in November. They will jointly distribute thousands of posters listing the ten rights guaranteed to voters by local, state and federal laws.
 
The 10 rights are:
  1.  You are entitled to up to two paid hours off of work to vote if polls are not open for four consecutive hours before or after your work day, provided you notify employers.
  2.  You should receive a mailed reminder informing you when and where to vote.
  3. You have until October 12 to register to vote in this year’s general election.
  4. If you have recently moved within NYC, you can vote at your new poll site with an Affidavit Ballot, even if you have not updated your registration.
  5. If your name is misspelled on the voter rolls or you recently changed your name, you are still allowed to vote using the standard ballot and machine.
  6. If your name is not on the voter rolls, you can still vote using an Affidavit Ballot.
  7. Only some first-time voters are required to present I.D. at poll sites if they didn’t submit the needed information when they registered.
  8. You can request an absentee ballot be mailed to you if you are unable to vote in person.
  9. Voters with disabilities are entitled to assistance from poll site staff, as are non-English speakers.
  10. You cannot be prevented from voting if you accidentally wear campaign paraphernalia at a polling site, but you should remove or cover it as instructed by poll workers.
New York City voters need all the help they can get. New York has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the US, especially among younger people.

Fewer than 17% of 18-29 year-olds in NYC voted in the last presidential election. In the 2009 Mayoral election, the youth turnout was under 4%.

The growing problem of voter apathy is only worsened by chaos at the polls.

The Bill of Rights and additional resources are here: http://nycvoting.com.

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