Few problems reported at local polling places

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
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Jim Mayo of Amsterdam takes time to mark his ballot before casting votes at the McNulty Elementary School on Tuesday morning
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Jim Mayo of Amsterdam takes time to mark his ballot before casting votes at the McNulty Elementary School on Tuesday morning

— County Board of Elections officials around the Capital Region are reporting few, if any, problems at their local polling places.

“There have been garden-variety, run-of-the-mill challenges that we face every Election Day,” said Schenectady County Board of Elections Commissioner Brian Quail early this afternoon. “There have been a few instances of paper jams that have all been quickly resolved.”

The story is the same in Fulton and Saratoga counties, officials report.

But turnout has been steady and robust in the first half of Election Day, they say. Quail said county officials have prepared for today’s election as they did for the 2008 presidential election.

“I think at this point we’re seeing healthy numbers,” he said. “They likely won’t exceed or approach 2008 numbers, but they will be healthy.”

Over at Niskayuna Town Hall, a group of people showed up well before polls opened at 6 a.m. A steady stream of voters poured into the building today so that by noon, one district had already reported about half of their would-be voters had already cast their ballot.

Poll worker Bud Halsey said the new electronic voting machines helped lines move more efficiently than in previous years at Town Hall.

“We’ve definitely been busy,” he said around noon.

The only thing holding lines up were voters who were unsure of their district, said poll workers.

Another snafu in Schenectady County that has since been worked out was residents inadvertently taking advantage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s last-minute edict on affidavit ballots. The executive order mandated election workers to provide an affidavit ballot to anybody displaced from their polling place because of Hurricane Sandy. This includes any person from Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester or New York City.

“We had some people who simply never registered to vote for some reason and were not from the affected areas try to cast an affidavit ballot,” said Quail.

There have been several reports of voting issues at the University at Albany, with eyewitnesses reporting long lines, understaffing and a large number of students whose voter registration was inadvertently made inactive, requiring them to cast affidavit ballots.

The Albany County Board of Elections phone line has been busy most of the day.

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