Illegal requests at polling station
Amity Paye | 11/5/2013, 5:12 p.m.
Adams filled out my voting card. I signed my name under my printed signature. I received a folder and my ballot.
"Do you know what to do?" said the woman who had rescued me from showing ID.
"You can only vote in one line," she says pointing to the columns of candidates organized by party. A line (column) for democrats, a line for republicans, a line for the working families party and so on. Again I was confused, sure you can vote for any candidate, in any party, regardless of your party affiliation during a general election.
“you are not obligated to vote for your party's candidate in the general election. In November, you may vote for any candidate from any party,” reads the Board of Elections frequently asked question page.
Manhattan Democratic Commissioner, Gregory Soumas, went up to investigate this claim and thought this mistake was more of a misunderstanding versus any nefarious intent. Commenting on his behalf, Vazques said, "The person didnt communicate properly. What they were trying to tell you is that you have to vote one per contest and saying down the column was wrong, obviously."
The poll worker in blue then flips the ballot over to reveal 6 ballot proposals. "You only need to vote on numbers 2,3 and 6," she said. Or maybe she said 1,2 and 6. "I hope you remember which ones I said" she calls out to the last voter to be told the ballot measure numbers. "The others don't apply," she said pointing back to my ballot.
“From what I’m hearing it seemed to be a mistake that someone came up with and everyone seemed to have ran with, believing that that had some logic,” said Walker later in the day. “You know how the telephone game goes. The first person got it one way and by the time it got to the last person…” By the time it got to the last person voters were told they couldn't vote on half of the ballot questions…
I was directed to a booth to fill out my ballot. I voted for the candidates I wanted to be elected, regardless of party line and filled out all six ballot proposals. But I must admit I hesitated. Staring at the page I worried my vote would be invalidated if I didn't listen to the clearly illegal directions I had been given.
"What's your voter number" called the polling officer in the blue shirt " it needs to be on your ballot." Fed up and knowing my voter number should definitely not be on my ballot I read the number off my voter ID card and just went to scan my ballot. If my number were on my actual ballot my vote could be traced back to me and anonymous voting is an important aspect of American democracy.
Kentucky was the last state in the U.S. to instate secret ballots in 1891
The NAACP also sent a team up to the Samuel, as well as a couple other locations across the city, to monitor the situation.
By the end of the day Vazques said, "this is something that we addressed with the poll workers. We immediately dispatched a team. Even our commissioner wanted to make sure the poll workers were properly trained, to see if there was any nefarious intent. And it was more of a procedural misunderstanding."
To check your registration status or report a problem at your poll site, call the Board of Elections at (866) VOTE-NYC -- that's (866) 868-3692