Poll problems plague some Albany primary voters

September 12, 2017 07:32 PM

Tuesday was Primary Day in New York State. Polls were scheduled to be open until 9 p.m. One of the big races is for Albany mayor.

Three Democratic candidates were vying for the position Kathy Sheehan, Frank Commisso Jr. and Carolyn McLaughlin.

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However, as some voters headed to the polls to cast their ballots on Primary Day, there were some problems at some of the polling places.

An official with the Albany County Board of Elections tells NewsChannel 13 they had an inordinate number of sick calls on Tuesday. That forced them to scramble to find enough people to watch the polls.

Whether or not that was the reason for the confusion and the inconvenience and delays remains to be seen. However, speaking to all three of the Democratic candidates vying for Albany mayor, they are well aware there were problems at the polling places.

When NewsChannel 13 first arrived at Temple B’nai Sholom in Albany, a polling place on Whitehall Road, people said they were leaving because the polls weren’t open on time.

By the time Mayor Kathy Sheehan got there to vote around 1 p.m., people were voting, but the mayor thinks the damage may already have been done.

"There are people who walked away from this polling place where we are right now, because they waited 20 minutes, the polls weren’t open, they weren’t able to vote, they’re on the clock, they had to get back and so they didn’t vote. I hope they come back tonight and vote," noted Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin was campaigning in the South End, where she had also heard about problems at the polls. That included some of them opening late, which she thinks may have confused or frustrated voters who made the effort to come out.

"We know that there’s a lot of you coming out. That’s what we expected today," acknowledged McLaughlin. "So be patient. The machines, if there’s a jam, we’ll get them fixed. If they’re a little late getting open, I apologize on behalf of whatever happened."

"We’ve heard about some of this at this point and we’re hearing more about it. It’s unfortunate. You know, we want to get as many voters as possible. We think a bigger turnout really favors our campaign," echoed Commisso.

However, Sheehan says she has an even greater concern.

"We saw in the general election where we have a person who is now president of the United States, who bragged about the fact that he ran a very strong voter suppression operation to try to suppress the vote. Those are things that do happen and they happen right here in Albany and it’s a concern. But I have said all along we’ve got to take the refs out of the game."

Whether or not any problems may alter the results of the election, there’s really no way to know.

Polls were scheduled to be open until 9 p.m.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office created a hotline to help with any problems voters may encounter at the polls. The number is 1-800-771-7755. The hotline is active until 9 p.m. Tuesday night.


WNYT Staff

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