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Near Record Number Of Voters Endure Technical Problems, Long Lines

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Voters faced long lines at the polls Tuesday, several problems at precincts around the city, and there's talk of a record turnout. NY1's Michael Scotto has that part of the story.

The lines said it all. Voters turned out in numbers not seen in a long, long time.

“The turnout is great. We’re doing very well,” said one poll worker.

But with heavy turnout came heavy problems. For starters, machines broke down at several precincts. That meant some had to vote on paper until technicians could get out and fix the 40-year-old equipment.

“They were able to fix them. No poll sites had to be shut down completely,” said Board of Elections Executive Director John Ravitz. “These are antiquated machines that are doing a great job.”

There were other issues, like missing roll books at one precinct, which later turned up.

The Board of Elections help line also wasn't much help because of the volume of calls. Many callers encountered long waits or busy signals.

“They better get their act together by next year,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “If you call and you want to find out where to vote, you shouldn’t have to encounter a busy signal, or at least for very long.”

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and State Senate Minority Leader David Paterson are now looking into what went wrong, and they plan to announce ways the BOE can get its act together before next year's city elections.

Albany may be part of the problem. The BOE is still waiting to purchase new machines, but the state Legislature still hasn't decided on a model.

However, despite the problems of Election Day, this story may fall under the radar screen. After all, the races for president and senate in this state weren't even close.

- Michael Scotto
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