Some New York City Polling Sites Run On Generators

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The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has complicated voting in the New York City area. Robert Siegel talks with Robert Smith.


Of course, the polls will remain open for a couple of hours yet in New York State. But in New York, this election has proved especially surprising because of Sandy, the storm. NPR's Robert Smith is on Staten Island, the borough of New York City that was most damaged. And, Robert, are they managing to pull off an Election Day despite the terrible damage of the storm there?

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Well, it all depends on what you mean by pull off. You know, here in New York City, they always have something go wrong in elections. But I'll tell you right now, I am in a neighborhood that is completely black. It is darkness. There is no electricity. It is block after block of homes with no lights on. And right in the middle is a tent lit by these huge, bright Klieg lights. That is the polling place. There's no heat. There's barely any electricity inside. But they are open until 9 o'clock tonight. They haven't seen too many people today. They said it's gone smoothly. But all over the city we're hearing about delays, people don't know where to go. There's all sorts of problems here in New York.

SIEGEL: But are there actually voters there right now who are waiting to vote?

SMITH: Yeah. This particular polling place, it's been light traffic. A lot of people have left this neighborhood. And in fact, Governor Cuomo here in New York signed a proclamation that says anyone can vote anywhere they want in the state with a provisional ballot. They just need to go to a polling place. Which is great, you know, if you're a refugee and you have left your neighborhood. But it also makes things very difficult here. I mean, it has made lines long all over the city and it's going to make things difficult as they have to verify those votes. So, luckily here, it's not just a state that's really in play for the presidential election, because they're going to be sorting this out for a long time.

SIEGEL: OK. Sounds like a very complicated and difficult Election Day on Staten Island. NPR's Robert Smith, thank you.

SMITH: You're welcome.

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