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BY KAITLYN MEADE | The Board of Elections will probably have to move some polling sites on Nov. 6, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a press conference on the morning of Nov. 1. In answer to a question on how Sandy will affect the voting process in the city, Bloomberg replied that while power was expected to be restored to all voting sites by Election Day, some of the locations, particularly in schools, had problems with the transformers which may not be repaired in time for voters.
In a statement released online, the city Board of Elections commissioners Maria Guastella and Frederic Umane said that poll workers’ training had resumed and that the board was working with the Department of Education to assess damage to voting sites. B.O.E. is also working with private entities to review damage sustained at the other voting sites.
“Our trucks are loaded and ready for delivery of all voting materials and equipment once we know that sites have not been damaged. The B.O.E. will be working around the clock and through the weekend to make sure that all voting sites receive everything they need to be up and running on Election Day,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, absentee ballots have been delayed by the disruption to the U.S. Postal Service. The B.O.E. will be distributing absentee ballots via U.S.P.S. overnight mail. The absentee ballot application deadline for New York State was extended from Tues., Oct. 30 to Fri., Nov. 2. The deadline remains Mon., Nov. 5 for all applications to be completed in person at the Manhattan Voting Machine Facility 450 W. 33rd St., 10th floor.
The receipt deadline was also extended to 13 days after Election Day. Ballots must still be postmarked Nov. 5, but have until Nov. 19 to reach the resident’s local B.O.E. office to account for delays in the postal service. The processing of absentee ballot applications has also been delayed by the storm. Other city agencies have assigned some of their workers to the B.O.E. with the absentee ballot process.
The Manhattan Borough office of the B.O.E. is closed due to loss of power. Operations have been temporarily relocated to W. 33rd St. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sun., Nov. 4, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the following Monday. The office reminded residents that their vote is only valid at their assigned location which can be found on their poll site locator online at vote.nyc.ny.us. The latest information can also be found at this website.