Voters swarm Downtown poll sites

The line to vote stretched down Greenwich Street Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Hupert

BY JESS SCANLON | All polling places in Manhattan opened at 6 a.m. for Election Day in Lower Manhattan, but before noon, some polling locations were already crowded with lines of voters spilling out into the streets at two Tribeca locations, New York Law School and P.S. 234, and the Tweed Courthouse by City Hall. “The wait’s 45 minutes to an hour,” said a poll worker at Tweed. Earlier, the line had stretched past the gate and into the street, he noted.

Election Day came only about a week after Hurricane Sandy struck New York. The state Board of Elections scrambled to ensure access to the ballots for New Yorkers who were displaced by the hurricane. The agency moved 60 polling sites within New York City alone.

A Board of Elections document showed that four Manhattan polling locations changed, two of which were based Downtown. The polling location at St. Margaret’s House on Fulton Street was moved to the nearby Southbridge Towers, which was also crowded on Tuesday morning. Additionally the polling site at Bard High School Early College on East Houston Street was moved to either P.S. 188 or less than a block away at P.S. 196.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also attempted to ease the voting process by temporarily suspending provisions of the election law regarding location, allowing residents of the city as well as the Long Island, Rockland and Westchester counties to vote using an affidavit ballot, according to a press release put out by the governor’s office Monday.

Back at Tweed, the same poll worker asked a voter which election district she’s from. She answered “the Ninth” after looking down at a paper in her hand. He told her she could vote at the location but that it’s a good idea to know where it is for the next election.