Mayor Bloomberg Has to Help Poll Worker Find His Name on Voter Roster
UPPER EAST SIDE — If he wasn't the mayor, he might have been turned away at the polls.
A flustered poll worker working the desk when Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his media entourage of more than a dozen television and still cameras turned up Tuesday morning couldn't locate his name on the roster at his Upper East Side voting site.
So she turned over the voter roll to him to find his own name, in violation of Board of Elections policy, officials said.
“The voter should not be looking through the poll list book in that way," said Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez. If poll workers are having trouble, voters are instead encouraged to write their names on a slip of paper or to show some form of ID “to assist that.”
Hizzoner flipped through the list and handed back the list, pointing out his name to the worker before being allowed into the voting booth.
Bloomberg waited in line more than 40 minutes, chatting with voters and posing for photo ops, before casting his vote for president at PS 6 on East 81st Street on the Upper East Side, where some irate voters grew frustrated by the lines.
"Big crowd this morning. I was surprised at how many people," Bloomberg said. "People are putting up with the lines and they seem excited. This is what citizenship is all about."
Bloomberg said he had spoken with friends from The Rockaways who were still taking time out from recovery efforts to vote.
"They don't have any electricity. Their house is cold. Their basement's all flooded out. No electricity, no heat, no hot water. We joked about taking cold showers. But they're toughing it out and working to clean up their house and get back and they will go vote later in the day."
And he added that he was getting heaps of praise in the voting line Tuesday from his well-heeled neighbors, who never lost power after the storm.
"It's a nice experience when everybody says 'Good job.' So I liked it. I thought maybe getting back in line and doing it again would be good," he joked.
Bloomberg, a longtime critic of the Board of Elections, reserved his normal vitriol against the agency, calling it "not something that represents Democracy well. It's just two parties that control it... and you're seeing the results of it."
He also dismissed the city's new optical scanning voting machines, which have caused headaches since they were introduced.
"I think the machines are a very bad idea. People can look over your shoulders. Nobody understands what's going on," he said. "The old machines, to my way of thinking worked fine."
He wouldn't reveal his choices on the ballot, but said that his decision to endorse Obama should speak for itself.
"I didn't do it without feeling very strongly that this is the best of the two choices for the country," he said. "I don't know who's going to win, but whoever wins we should get behind. This country is basically divided, right down the middle. This is a close election. And we need people to work together rather than work against each other. And I hope that whoever wins can pull everybody together."