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The Bronx Turns Out to Vote Despite Long Lines and Some Confusion

By Patrick Wall | November 6, 2012 10:10am

CONCOURSE — Bronx residents braved the early morning chill Tuesday to head to the polls with a larger-than usual turnout despite long lines and some voting machine confusion.

By 6:30 a.m. at the Bronx County Supreme Courthouse, a line of would-be voters wrapped around the building's inner rotunda, through the lobby and out the main entrance.

Darryl Johnson, a voting coordinator, said that after five years working at the site, he saw more voters Tuesday than he ever had before.

"I've had more people here this morning than I've seen in whole days," he said.

But many voters expressed confusion and some frustration as they waited in the lengthy lines and went through the multi-step process of shading in oval ballot choices, then sliding the ballots through electronic scanning machines.

"This is a tedious process," said Russell Bond, 55, a retired city employee and former poll worker. "I don't think the workers know what to do."

"I'm usually in and out in two or three minutes,” Bond added as he waited to scan his ballot sheet. “Today I've been here most of a half-hour."

Other voters complained to workers that many scanning machines appeared to sit unused. One voter had to ask for a new ballot because he had checked rather than shaded the ovals, which tripped up the scanner.

"The better the technology, the easier it is to screw up," one woman said as she tried repeatedly to insert a ballot into a scanner.

"I don't like the scanner," another woman, Gina, who declined to give her last name, said after voting. "My concern is that they don't show you how it actually scanned. It should confirm that your vote went in correctly."

Another voter, Debbie A., 46, said the poll workers, whom she called "boneheads," were "not clear about what to do."

"It usually takes me 10 minutes," she said. "This time it took me 35."

An informal survey of voters who successfully completed the process found that most in the solidly blue borough had cast their votes for President Barack Obama.

"I have a very strong sense of urgency," said Shannon, 34, who voted for Obama. "I have a nine-month-old daughter. I need to make sure there is a person in place that cares about the middle class, about women's issues and about social responsibility."