New Yorkers Suspect Foul Play at Polls

Broken Machines and Incomplete Rolls Spark Anger, Suspicion

 NOVEMBER 7—In a barrage of letters to Villagevoice.com early this afternoon, furious New York City voters are reporting irregularities at the polls—including broken voting machine and disappeared names of registered voters. With the close presidential race and a heated contest between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton for Senate, voting in New York has been heavy—but not, apparently, all that easy.

"Where I voted this morning in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, EVERY VOTING MACHINE WAS BROKEN!" writes one voter. "This is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!"

"This is not the third world, this is not Serbia," the voter continues. "It is inconceivable that in the most powerful and modern city in the world its citizens are forced to vote with a pencil and a piece of paper. This is so obviously an invitation to corruption that I can't help but be suspicious."

Another angry voter writes, "In my (Brooklyn) neighborhood this morning, my wife and I, longtime registered voters, were bounced from balloting booth to balloting booth because our names couldn't be located in the registers at our usual polling place."

"In my polling place this morning," one voter writes, "some of the balloting booths were locked and inoperable and the volunteers couldn't open them and told us all that at least we had booths—in some nearby polling places, booths failed to arrive....On the lips of frustrated voters and volunteers this morning were the rumors we had all heard that things would not go easily this day for 'minority' voters."

When another voter arrived at the booth, the name of Una Clarke was listed for United States Congress "but missing an accompanying lever. I told the election officials, who took the booth out of service (although it had been used for the first two hours of voting). More upsetting was the fact that subsequently, I was unable to reach anyone to report this problem. Una Clarke's own phone rings without picking up; the New York State Board of Elections referred me to the New York City Board of Elections, whose line is constantly busy (as is the phone number for the Brooklyn Board of Elections).

"This is scary stuff," the voter continues, "particularly since each vote counts for so much more in a congressional election than, say, the presidential election. I have no way of knowing how many of the booths were also improperly configured."

 
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