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Sandy Spurs Voters, But Many Displaced

Affidavit ballots and shuttle buses provide extra assistance

By Amelia Pang
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 5, 2012 Last Updated: December 5, 2012
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Voting booths stand at the ready as students return to school on Nov. 5 in East Village, Manhattan. Public School 188, will be used as a polling center in Tuesday's presidential election. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Voting booths stand at the ready as students return to school on Nov. 5 in East Village, Manhattan. Public School 188, will be used as a polling center in Tuesday's presidential election. (John Moore/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Stranded on Long Island, Jack Suben, 58, is a long haul from his polling site in Seagate, Brooklyn. Despite a power outage and gas shortage, Suben says he is going to do all he can to make it to the voting booth Tuesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order early Monday evening, allowing displaced voters to vote at any polling site using an affidavit ballot, according to his Twitter.

Hurricane Sandy has left many parts of New York without public transportation.

“I have no power, no gas to get to Brooklyn, no heat. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to vote and that pains me,” Suben said.

“Believe me, I am more motivated in voting right now than I ever have in my life,” he said. “The bulk of population is hurting, and we need to elect someone who is going to help those who need it.”

The late change by Cuomo, allowing voting at any polling site, is making it easier for voters like Suben.

“This is an important step to protect the voting rights of thousands of New Yorkers impacted by this horrible storm,” said New York City public advocate Bill de Blasio Monday evening. He said voters should still make every effort to go to their designated poll site.

Earlier Cuomo had announced that shuttle buses will pick up voters in hard hit areas on Election Day and send them home after they have cast their votes.

Buses run from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, and pick up riders from the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.

Voter shuttle buses run every 15 to 30 minutes. “That’s what we got from the governor’s office, and it’s the best we can do considering the circumstance,” said Juan Carlos Polanco, commissioner of the Board of Elections (BOE).

The bus routes and other information can be found on the BOE website www.vote.nyc.ny.us.

The BOE affirms that there will be no shortage of poll workers Tuesday, having 36,000 employees spread throughout the city.

In New Jersey, registered voters displaced by Sandy can vote electronically. With the late announcement, New Yorkers can also cast votes away from their polling sites.

Since many sites were damaged, the BOE estimates that 143,000 voters need alternative polling sites. Sixty alternative sites have been identified.

To find out if your polling site has moved, search for the your address on the Online Poll Site Address Locator on the BOE website.

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