Wendy Long, who is running for the US Senate in New York against the Democrat incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand sent out a press release describing how a poll worker told her to vote for Democrats.
“This morning when I went to vote, a poll worker who was at the scanner, studied my private ballot and proceeded to tell me that it was rejected because I did not ‘fill in every space.’ She then proceeded to indicate that I should mark the Democratic line all the way down.
The poll worker said, ‘you have to fill in all of THESE, all the way down,” indicating the whole line at the far left of the ballot, saying ‘you can’t leave any blank.’”
I said, “I’m sorry, but that just can’t be the case …. that would force me to vote for people I don’t want to vote for.” She insisted again, that every office had to be filled out or the ballot would be rejected. And I said again “I don’t want to vote for those people!”
I protested again and said that I wanted to feed my ballot into the scanner as I had filled it out. She eventually relented saying ‘well you can TRY it’ – meaning she would allow me to put it in the scanner.
It obviously worked.
I had just remarked to all the poll workers, before I filled in my ballot, that we were all very fortunate to have heat and water and electricity.
It is heartbreaking, especially in these trying times for New York City with thousands of voters displaced from their homes and their polling locations, that poll workers would behave in this way, and through intent or ignorance, work to distort the outcome of an election and violate an individual’s right to vote for whomever he or she chooses.
I urge all voters to know your rights when you vote.
You can ask for help in how to operate the scanner, but your ballot is private and cannot and should not be inspected.
You do not have to vote in every office, or fill in every oval. Vote only for the candidates whom YOU want to vote for.
Finally, question authority – poll workers are there to help you to vote, not to tell you how vote. If one crosses the line, contact the Attorney General’s Office or your local Board of Elections.”
I also received a press release from the NY GOP saying that Governor Andrew Cuomo is allowing anyone effected by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place. Well, not everyone, according to the GOP first responders who are in the NYC area helping storm victims have not been extended the same courtesy. Figures.
Update: I voted at just after 4:00 PM. I was # 672 at my polling place. When I voted for Wendy Long in the primary I think I was #18 or something, and that was later in the evening. I’ll have a new post up shortly with photos from Ann Marie Buerkle’s campaign office. It was bustling.