Frustrated voters wrestle with polling problems on crucial Election Day

Posted: Updated:
WAKEFIELD -

Voters across New York City say they waited hours on long lines and dealt with broken technology as they tried to cast their votes on Election Day.

Among the polling sites with issues was P.S. 81 in Riverdale, where scanners were down starting around 3:30 p.m. Half of them started to work again over an hour later. Voters had to drop their ballots into boxes instead of being scanned.

The site's Election Day coordinator says rain caused scanners to not work properly.

The Board of Elections also cited rips and stray mark on paper ballots causing issues.

Many voters worried that problems would mean their vote would not be counted in time, but the Election Day coordinator stressed that they would. He said when polls closed, police officers would take the ballot boxes to the local precinct. From there, the Board of Elections would count up the votes.

Voters at Manhattan College also experienced issues, with only one machine working to count ballots. 

Despite rainy conditions, polling sites were packed with some even lining up before polls opened. Elected officials begged voters to brave the storm, whether that meant rainy conditions or any issues at polling places to cast their votes.

New York voters saw a two-page ballot for the first time this year. Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan said the change presented unique challenges.

"This is the first time this is being done in the city of New York for a general election, it is the first time for us and it's the first time for the voters," says Ryan. "Anytime you're doing something for the first time, there's a learning curve. We will learn from whatever issues arose on Election Day after we do our analysis, as well as the voters will learn for the next time should we find ourselves of having a two-page ballot again."

In response to the issues, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for the resignation of Ryan, saying voting should not be this difficult. Ryan responded saying now was not the time to have that conversation, and that he was focusing on making certain that every voter had an opportunity to cast a ballot.

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