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Board of Elections Removes Ballot Booth for Lone Midtown Voter

By Alan Neuhauser | October 2, 2013 6:18am
 The booth had been allocated for a single voter on primary day last month.
Private Midtown Voting Booth Removed
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MIDTOWN — A private ballot booth set up at a polling site during primary day last month for a single voter who moved out of the area years earlier was removed for Tuesday's runoff election.

Election District 93 — a minuscule Midtown district that holds just eight voters, only one of them a registered Democrat — instead shared a ballot booth with a neighboring district for Tuesday's public advocate runoff.

Last month, DNAinfo New York revealed that the city's Board of Elections allocated an entire booth and two poll workers on primary day for District 93's lone party-affiliated voter, a man who'd actually moved from the district years ago.

"I was shivering — I thought I would have to go through that all over again," said poll worker and Midtown resident Sophia Ahmad, who'd manned the District 93 booth on primary day, Sept. 9.

However, the voter was still listed in the sign-in ledger for District 93, despite the fact the the BOE was alerted to the man's whereabouts.

"He's still the only one in the book," Ahmad added. "I think it's a joke."

The Tuesday merger was one of "75 consolidations throughout the city of New York," the Board of Elections said in a statement. "We combined as many elections as we legally could to streamline the process and reduce costs."

The BOE had previously attributed last month's mix-up to outdated voting rolls, placing the blame on the mysterious voter. 

"He did not inform the board that he'd moved," communications director Valerie Vazquez said on primary day. "We're not checking to see if a person has moved or not. It's not realistic."

The man, an ad executive who said he now lives on the Upper West Side, confirmed that he'd moved from Midtown at least two years ago, and out of District 93 as long as five years ago.

He said he last cast a ballot in 2012, when he voted to re-elect President Barack Obama. His former home in District 93, 251 W. 57th St., was renovated in 2008 and rebranded 3 Columbus Circle, records show. It is now a commercial building.

At the Midtown polling site Tuesday, which held five total voting booths, poll workers expressed relief that two workers would not have to babysit a sixth booth, waiting for a voter who would never show.

"They changed it," said the site's coordinator, Ines Reuss. "It's no problem now."