When Intel Chris turned up to vote today, there were some issues. The women at his polling place couldn’t seem to figure out the numbering system for the paper ballots they were handing out (voters need to be recorded not only electronically, but also on multiple paper formats), and even though there was nobody in line the whole process took about fifteen minutes. (Which, it should be noted, was not as long as it took to get him a toasted everything bagel with extra butter shortly afterward. It’s important to keep perspective.) He was not the only one: Even Chuck Schumer had trouble when he showed up at his polling place to vote for fellow Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The new ballot systems, introduced during this election cycle, involve filling out bubbles on a paper form and having that form scanned into a computer.
The Daily News is collecting reports from all over the city. Here are a couple:
“Massive machine failures out in Queens” in the 39th AD. “At one point 50% of machines were down. Poll workers have no idea how to rectify or what to do. Hundreds of people have been turned away. Really horrible situation (particularly in an immigrant community).” and “PS 143, PS 91, PS 149, PS 177, PS 89 no scanners working. Corona senior center down. Scanner eating ballots at PS 101 (this is a known problem with an easy fix).”
DNAinfo even reported many voters leaving polling places out of frustration.
The new devices replaced those (admittedly scary) old machines with the huge lever that made the satisfying “Ka-CHUNK” after you voted, but which allowed little margin for error.
Meanwhile, while Intel Chris was waiting in line, a supervisor asked the poll worker helping him which party Chris was registered with. Though the woman had not yet found his name on the polling list, she gave his outfit a quick once-over, and told her boss emphatically, “DEMOCRAT.” Apparently the combination of a Le Tigre polo shirt and khaki pants is not as staid as we thought.