It's Primary Day in New York City (and will be until the polls close at 9 p.m.), in case you were wondering why you were seeing all of those "I Voted" stickers. And true to form with the city's elections, there's a smattering of chaos to go along with our low voter turnout.
Eric Callahan, a 33-year-old Bergen Beach resident with two young children, tweeted that he tried to enter his polling place at PS 321 earlier this morning, only to be told by a school safety officer that he couldn't bring his stroller in. Callahan told us that the safety officer didn't cite any specific rules, but nonetheless told him that he'd have to leave his stroller outside if he wanted to come in and vote.
Callahan said that he eventually just decided to have his three-year-old daughter walk with him while he carried his seven-week-old son in his car seat. But while Callahan said he was a big enough guy to manage the task, he worried about other people who would have had trouble doing the same thing.
"With all that's going on with voter suppression I thought it was important to speak up even though I got my vote in," he told us. Callahan also said that the Board of Elections Twitter account was responsive at first, but seemed to drop their interest when he said he managed to vote.
And while Callahan managed to get his vote in, 36-year-old Rachel Lynn Brody said that she wasn't able to, after showing up to her Bay Ridge polling place and finding her registration switched.
Brody told us that she had gone to her polling place at the High School Of Telecommunications under the impression that she was a registered Democrat. However, a poll worker there told her that she was registered with the Reform Party, and even when she asked for an affidavit ballot for the Democratic primary, a poll worker would only give her a ballot for the Reform Party.
"Having been pretty active in the Sanders campaign in 2015 and 2016, I repeatedly check my registration online," Brody told us. She said that as of "a couple of months ago," she had checked her registration and found it was still Democratic, and that she's planning on going over her history of screenshots and also will be double checking if she received a voter registration card.
Brody said that she "asked for the names of who to call and contact, and verbatim, asked 'Who do I sue?'" She did report that the poll workers were supportive and were happy to share information with her on who she should contact at the BOE.
In Sunset Park, two polling locations failed to open on time due to inactive ballot scanners, while confused voters in multiple neighborhoods said they were unaware that their usual polling places had been relocated, DNAinfo reports.
Other Primary Day fun included poll workers threatening a reporter with arrest:
— westsiderag (@westsiderag) September 12, 2017
Someone's entire family not properly registered:
@BOENYC nobody in my family was on the list at my voting center but we are registered pls advise
— JT (@TheRealJaxel) September 12, 2017
Polling places getting moved without forewarning and for strange reasons:
@BOENYC Explain why despite the fact that there is a polling place in my lobby and I've voted there for 14 years, you moved my polling place
— Sara Yood (@saraeyood) September 12, 2017
And your standard mysterious voter purge:
@BOENYC just FYI. My name purged from voter role. Had to vote by affidavit. Very inconvenient and disturbing. Why is this happening?
— greg💫 (@AwayGoalRule) September 12, 2017
As for the turnout around the city, a BOE spokesperson deemed it "light," which judging by the photos of empty polling places, sounds accurate:
.@BOENYC spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez on primary election turnout: "It's been light so far." Unofficial results expected starting @ 9 online.
— Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) September 12, 2017
A spokesperson for the Board of Elections did not respond to our request for comment.
[Update 5:11 p.m.] There was also some old-fashioned electioneering drama, as a voter accused City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez of violating the rule banning campaigning less than 100 feet from a polling place.
Michelle Simon Kohut told us she was heading into Inwood’s IS-52 to cast her vote this morning when she said she noticed incumbent District 10 Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez standing outside the polling station.
Kohut said she thought Rodriguez seemed to be closer than 100 feet from the station entrance, so she reported him to the poll coordinator. When asked to move further down the block, Rodriguez reportedly yelled at the poll worker before leaving the site. Kohut took a photo of the incident.
— Michelle Simon Kohut (@MSKohut) September 12, 2017
Edwin Rosario Mazara, 39, a volunteer for the Josue Perez campaign witnessed a mid-morning confrontation between a female Perez campaign volunteer and a Rodriguez campaign volunteer understood to be Carlos Rodriguez, the brother of Ydanis Rodriguez.
According to Mazara, Rodriguez volunteers were giving out fliers at the door of the polling site. When the female Perez volunteer, who was white, confronted him, Carlos Rodriguez allegedly told the woman, “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re not in the South anymore. Slavery is over. Go back to the South.” Mazara said he then saw Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa attempting to calm Rodriguez down before escorting him away.
Rodriguez could not be reached for comment on the incident.
Additional reporting by Sarah Amar