Saturday, November 03, 2012

Storm is Forcing NYC's Board of Elections to Relocate Polling Places

Storm is forcing NYC's Board of Elections to relocate 80 polling places — but it's not clear which ones

Mayor Bloomberg wants to know which locations, but says he hasn't received any lists from the problem-plagued agency. Board spokesman John Conklin said all election boards in places affected by the storm are still determining if they’ll be ready by Tuesday.

Friday, November 2, 2012, 8:06 PM.

The city’s problem-plagued Board of Elections needs to relocate some 80 polling places because of Hurricane Sandy – but isn’t saying which ones.

“We’ve asked for lists of where they think they’re going to have problems,” Mayor Bloomberg said Friday. “They’ve yet to come up with those lists.”

With the presidential election coming Tuesday, the board needs to scramble for supplies such as tents and generators – and should ask the city for help, said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan).

“I think the Board of Elections needs a lot of help from the city and the state to pull this off right now,” said Brewer who heads a Council committee that oversees the elections. “I think it’s a very challenging situation.”

John Conklin, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections, said all election boards in areas affected by the storm are still assessing damages and determining if they’ll be ready by Tuesday.

“There are a number of poll sites where they’re schools and either there may not be any power, but there’s a parking lot out front,” he said. “They may set up a tent and have them vote out there. They’re trying to be as least disruptive as possible in making their choices.”

Conklin said the board already extended absentee ballot application deadlines from Oct. 30 to Friday and that there wasn’t enough time to do it again.

Bloomberg has been a fierce critic of the board for bungling elections in the past including sending voters to the wrong polling place and taking weeks to decide the outcome of elections – and that’s not in the middle of the crisis.

He expressed concern about the possibility of problems on Tuesday.

“The Board of Elections is basically run by nobody,” Bloomberg said.

“I don’t want to just pick on them,” he said, but added: “Let us be nice and say they’ve had their problems."

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