The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

New Yorkers Fume at Polling Problems: 'You’re Supposed to Be Ready'

By DNAinfo Staff | November 8, 2016 9:40am | Updated on November 8, 2016 2:40pm

 The polling site at I.S. 52 opened about 25 minutes after it was supposed to, meaning some residents were not able to vote before leaving for work.
The polling site at I.S. 52 opened about 25 minutes after it was supposed to, meaning some residents were not able to vote before leaving for work.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

NEW YORK CITY — Voting problems started early across the city on Tuesday, with many New Yorkers struggling to deal with extremely long lines and polling places that did not open on time.

Although New York's polling sites were supposed to open at 6 a.m., at I.S. 52 in Inwood, the police did not show up until about 5:55 a.m, meaning the site was unable to open until closer to 6:30 a.m., according to Elizabeth Martinez, poll site coordinator.

"The police arrived five minutes to 6 a.m. and we need about an hour to prepare," she said, describing their late arrival as "distasteful."

The site's late opening forced some residents to leave for work before casting their ballots.

Having problems with voting? Email tips@dnainfo.com to let us know what's going on.

Voters who showed up to Silver Houses in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens at 6 a.m. were also told they could not cast their ballots for reasons including a lack of voting machines and incorrect paperwork.

“When I came down around 6:20, I was told that the machines aren’t here. Come back in an hour,” said voter Denise Clarke. “People that came here at 6, they’re going to work, and they’re trying to get ahead of the game. This is a very important opportunity, and when they start with the shenanigans at 7 in the morning, what does that mean?”

Voters at Silver Houses also had issues with long lines, a lack of signs indicating the location of the polling site, and at one table, poll workers were not tearing ballots cleanly, meaning the machines would not accept them. The names of some voters were also not found on the list.

The doors at P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill stayed shut at 6 a.m. as well, with workers blaming it on the lack of a voting coordinator and paperwork problems, according to attorney Sherri Donovan.

“So 6:20, nothing is happening,” Donovan said. “So this is like a legal constitutional right to vote, and the polls are open at 6, You’re supposed to be ready for the voters.”

Poll workers at P.S. 401 in Brownsville were apparently struggling to get through their workday, as one of them was spotted sleeping at the site.


(DNAinfo/Mariah Brown)

Voters saw a female poll worker asleep at the school as well, which did not make them feel too confident about the electoral process.

"She's supposed to be taking care of the polls, but she's asleep," said 26-year-old Brownsville resident Reggienea Simpkins. "I don't know if that's going to hinder our election vote or not."

And at P.S. 175 in Harlem, nine workers did not even bother to show up as long lines started to form in the morning, forcing poll site coordinator Gregory Drang to call in for "relief workers."

Having problems with voting? Email tips@dnainfo.com to let us know what's going on.

Voting problems have hit the Upper West Side as well, with residents waiting in long lines early in the morning.

By 8 a.m., there was a line at the voting site at P.S. 163, which sits between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues at West 97th Street, that stretched east to Columbus and snaked all the way up to West 103rd Street, one resident reported, and voters were also waiting in a long line at P.S. 75, on West End Avenue at 95th Street.

The polling site at McCarren Park in Brooklyn was dealing with extremely long lines as well.

Voters at P.S. 59 in Manhattan, where Republican nominee Donald Trump voted just after 11 a.m., said they were not too happy to be sharing their polling site with the candidate.

"When we were getting ready to leave, I had a terrible thought: I think we vote where Trump votes," said Nancy Gallagher, a 61-year-old retired NBC reporter. "And here we are."

At P.S. 220 in Forest Hills, both ballot scanners were not working properly when the polling site opened at 6 a.m.

About 50 people had not been able to have their ballots scanned by mid-morning, but poll site coordinator Rince Calder said the Board of Elections was sending in two new scanners.

“Sometime they work, sometimes they don’t,” Calder said.

Voters having problem with the machines could either leave their ballots in an emergency ballot box or come back later, but many people were refusing to leave, Calder said.

Not everyone has been upset by the day's long lines, however.

Carter Lou McElroy and Daniel Becker each stood in line for about two hours at P.S. 92 in Brooklyn before they could vote, but they were not in a rush and thus not particularly bothered by the wait.

“You know, it’s kind of nice to see your neighbors and feel like a part of your neighborhood … and also, it’s not like we’re going to come back later,” McElroy said.

“Yeah,” agreed Becker. “It’s just like ‘get it done.’”

Eddie Small, Emily Frost, Carolina Pichardo, Gwynne Hogan, Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Dartunorro Clark, Rachel Holliday Smith, Rachel Silberstein, Elizabeth Tung and Mariah Brown contributed reporting.