The Bronx was spared the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge, but some of its residents said the hurricane was still on their minds—for several reasons—as they stood in line to vote at a polling station in Marble Hill on 225th Street.
“I’m a little concerned with Hurricane Sandy and the lack of voting places,” said Dennis Shelton, a longtime Bronx resident. “I’m worried about people’s votes being counted. I think there is going to be a lot of confusion.”
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers forced from their homes because of the hurricane would be able to vote by affidavit ballot at any polling site in the state, a move that some New Yorkers found inspiring and others, frustrating.
This particular station was packed, and—according to longtime voters and volunteers—is considered too small for the amount of people that come through.
“The machine went down on us twice and they had to come fix the machine, so it’s been a struggle,” said Carlos Ramos, a volunteer scanner at the center. “There are a lot of people just trying to get out and vote.”
Ramos’ role in the voting center is part of a new system that the city has adopted—machines that scan paper ballots, replacing the levers of the old-style voting machines. The change was another reason for slower voting on Tuesday—voters had to stand in two lines, one for filling out the ballot and a second for scanning it.
Several volunteers at the Marble Hill polling center had started working Tuesday at 5 a.m., and expected to stay till 9 p.m. Despite his evident commitment to the election, Ramos said his heart was heavy and his mind preoccupied by other things.
“Because of Sandy, I had a friend in Rockaway that lost his house, he lost everything. I went over there to help him. After I finish here, he’s going to call me. And if he needs help, I’m going there to help,” Ramos said. “I have dreams about it. It’s terrible.”