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Four Out of Five Machines Broken at Greenwich Village Polling Site

By Heather Holland | November 6, 2012 10:36am

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Broken machines snarled attempts by local voters to cast their ballots on Election Day at one location that saw a huge turnout early Tuesday morning.

Four out of the five scanning machines at P.S. 41 on West 11th Street stopped working, creating sluggish conditions for the 800 or so who arrived at the polling site within the first two hours of opening Tuesday, workers explained.

“It’s been pretty crazy here,” said polling coordinator Trammell Hudson, noting turnout had been tremendous as of Tuesday morning. “I came in at around 5:30, and a line was already forming.”

While many voters leaving the poll site at P.S. 41 said the process went smoothly enough, some residents complained about a long line at the only operating scanning machine.

"It's taking people a long time to get through,” said Keen Berger, a democratic district leader who was working at the poll site on Tuesday morning. “Some of the scanner machines are broken, and we're trying to get them fixed.”

Another polling site at the LGBT Community Center, located at 208 W. 13th St., saw similar turnout, said the site’s polling coordinator, Jacqueline Kirk. She reported a turnout of about 1,000 people by 8 a.m., not including hundreds more who were waiting in a line that wrapped around the entire block and spilled out onto Seventh Avenue.

However, this type of turnout is normal on the morning of a general election, she said.

Still, the technical issues weren’t enough to faze local residents who were eager to cast their vote on Tuesday morning, with some willing to endure up to an hour-long wait to cast their ballots.

“It’s insane in there. Let’s see, I got here at 6:30, and I waited about an hour before I got to vote,” said Peter F., a West Village resident who declined to give his last name.

"I waited in line for about 25 minutes,” added Bob Raicht, 51, a West Village resident. “[The experience] wasn't great, but better than I've seen in the past. [The poll workers] were trying their best to make the line go faster."

Although many residents said they arrived at the sites early in order to beat the rush, the morning is usually the busiest time on Election Day, Berger said.

“In this neighborhood, people are very eager to vote,” she explained. “They get here early, because they want to make sure their votes count.”