Sorting out the confusion from Election Day

Besides long lines and unfamiliar voting machines on Election Day, an executive order from Governor Cuomo allowing write-in paper ballots because of Hurricane Sandy, wreaked some major confusion in the Bronx.

Poll workers were unsure who could use the affidavit forms and voters worried the paper votes wouldn’t be counted in the Nov. 6 election.

But city Board of Elections Bronx representative J.C. Polanco said on Tuesday that the write-in votes would be valid – after a review against registration lists now underway, with a final tally expected in “a few weeks.”

Gov. Cuomo’s order allowed voters displaced by Sandy to sign a sworn statement at any polling place, verifying they were registered and fill in the ballot.

But the order did not specifically exclude those unaffected by Sandy.

In Hunts Point at the School of Performing Arts, site coordinator Altagracia Cruz said, “It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, we’re letting everyone vote.”

Some voters at PS 108 in Morris Park, including Christine Dente, 56, said the new electronic vote machine gave her the error message that she scanned too many votes for the local assembly race, but counted it the second time she scanned it.

The voting process was seamless for many other voters leaving the poll site. Rushing past, Michael Schwartz, 37, said, “The language on the ballot was very clear, I had no problems at all.”

Meanwhile, at the Bronx House polling site on Pelham Parkway, the voting process was more orderly.

“It was very fast and smooth, much smoother than four years ago,” said Dennis Monks, 29, after casting his vote in the afternoon.

“I thought it was going to be longer but in this place it was very fast and organized,” said Yvette Savante, 43. “It took less than ten minutes.”

Voters did not appear deterred by the optical scan machines.

Many who turned out at MS 80 in Norwood questioned whether the written forms would be counted equally with the new ballots.

“It was a little too easy,” said Lauren Millilo as she exited the polling site. A resident of Rockland, N.Y., Millilo filled out an affidavit ballot.

“I’m proud of my vote,” she said, but remained conflicted about the merits of the affidavit system. “I’m worried it won’t count,” she said.

Others found the affidavit process helpful.

“I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to vote,” said Dayana Nunez, 33, a math teacher at MS 80 who lives in Mahopac.

Nunez said she’d been staying with her mother-in-law since Sandy struck last week.

With additional reporting by Rachel Bryson-Brockmann, Kathleen Caulderwood, Kathleen Culliton, Jillian Eugenios and Matthew Perlman

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