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Election Day brings hope and woes

4/15/2011, 4:48 p.m.

Cyril Josh Barker

Amsterdam News Staff

Voters hit the polls as early as 5 a.m. Tuesday morning waiting hours in line to cast their ballots across the city. Many are saying they want to be counted in one of the most historic elections ever.

At P.S. 28 in Harlem, voters lined up around the corner on 155th Street. However, many voters said that the wait there was not too long.

"I came out at 6 this morning," said William Grullon, 27, of Washington Heights. "It was pretty quick. I came so early because I have to go to work. I'm rooting for Obama and I feel very confident."

Gail Burns said she also came out early because she had to go to work. Waiting half an hour she came at 6:30 a.m. Because of a recent move her name was not in the voter registration book forcing her to fill out an absentee ballot.

"We've got some new blood and that's why everyone is out here waiting," she said.

First-time voter 29-year-old Stanley Adams waited 25 minutes to cast his vote. He said he came out early to beat the lines. He had said there was only one reason he decided to register to vote this election year.

"Obama," he said. "I'm not big in politics but based on how things are now it's time for a change."

A few reports have come into the AmNews about problems at some polling places.

Mel Harring of Harlem reported that he has been on line for two hours waiting on a broken voting machine at 140th Street. There was one machine per electoral district. Workers tried to use another type of machine but it too malfunctioned. Harring reports that no one from the Board of Elections came to fix the problem.

Poll workers asked if Harring wanted to fill out a paper ballot but he refused. He said that there were no locks on the box making it easy for his vote to not be counted. Harring eventually left his polling place but said he plans to return later.

"I chose not to do a paper ballot because I didn't think it was secure. I wasted 3 hours of my time," he said.

In Mount Vernon at the Doles Center on 6th Avenue voters got to the polls at 6 am with only two machines and one was broken. Mariatou Scott said that people were shouting and screaming because of the malfunction. Scott said that she eventually voted using a machine after waiting an hour.

Sen Bill Perkins said that he has taken over a dozen calls today about incidents happening. The top complaints he says are failed voting machines and long lines. But even though he's taken complaints Perkins said that there has not been any sign of voter fraud.

"I didn't get a sense of any fowl play other than people wish that the system was more modern," he said. "The machines that we have are not ready for this kind of election. I would advise people to be patient and wait."

Later this evening Perkins said that he would be having a watch party at his office at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building.