Some Confusion as Hoboken Heads to the Polls; Lines Form Past 8 p.m. [UPDATED]
Most of the polling stations are the same in town, but voting in the wake of Sandy has been difficult for some.
UPDATED 3:30 p.m. — Lines formed at several polling places around town, leaving some polling places open past 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, as Hobokenites cast their votes after a especially long commute.
After some of the kinks that occured during the morning voting rush seemed to be smoothed as the day progressed, some worry remained, however, about the evening rush during the day.
Those in line before the polls closed were allowed to cast their vote even after 8 p.m.
As of 3 p.m. on Tuesday, about 12,000 people had voted in Hoboken.
"If people didn't get to vote this morning, they may have to rush," said Tom Kluepfel, one of Tuesday's school board candidates. When he voted on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., the line was 50 people deep — much more than usual.
During the morning rush of voting, which started at 6 a.m. some confusion occured at several polling places.
On top of voting for president and senator, Hobokenites are choosing three school board members today and are answering three public questions. The ballot is crowded and can get a bit confusing.
"This is a ballot that is made for people not to vote," said Perry Belfiore, who was explaining the ballot to voters outside 400 Marshall Drive.
Due to the storm, many voters didn't get their sample ballots in time.
Phil Cohen, a democratic committee man and a challenger in multiple polling places on Tuesday, said that he only received the sample ballot in the mail on election day.
At the Hudson County Board of Elections, there some more issues than usual, said Clerk Michael Harper. But, he said, "we have things up and running."
While some people were dropping off absentee ballots at the office, the amount of people was "not overwhelming," Harper said. He said it was hard to determine how many vote by mail ballots were lost in flooded mailboxes in Hoboken.
Mailed in ballots have until November 19 to make it to the Hudson County Board of Elections office, Harper said.
At the Multi Service Center, some confusion arose about where residents of Ward 4, District 7 were supposed to vote.
Other issues occured at the fire station at 1313 Washington St. on Tuesday morning, because there was only one machine there for a while.
"Some people were waiting in line for 45 minutes," Cohen said.
Cohen said that there were some reports of electioneering taking place too close to polling places.
"It has been a bit of a free for all in that regard," he said.
At the Wallace School, the voting machines have been placed in individual classrooms because the gym — which is usually used for voting — is still being used as a shelter.
Jake Stuiver, a Fourth Ward resident as well as Chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority, said that he and some other voters were erroneously sent to another polling place.
After arriving at the Multi Service Center around 8:30, Stuiver said that he was sent over to 220 Adams St. without checking. Upon arrival there, he found out he had walked the blocks for nothing. He said he texted his address to 877 877 to find out the correct polling place: the Multi Service Center.
"There were about four other voters going through the same thing," Stuiver said. "Now I have to go back to the multi toting a 2-year-old. Many people would give up."
At the Hoboken High School, which for the last week has served Hoboken as a volunteering Center, one machine was broken and voters had to use paper ballots.
"My vote feels like a non-vote, like a joke," said Rachel Schwartz, in a message to Patch. Schwartz said she voted by paper ballot at Hoboken High School, where the instructions weren't clearly given to the poll workers.
Besides the initial confusion, election day went on as usual in Hoboken, with groups of campaigners scattered all through town and candidates roaming the streets.
A group of New Yorkers from Manhattan and Brooklyn came into Hoboken on Tuesday to work for the Move Forward campaign. The New York residents — who wouldn't say how much they were being paid to work the day, but said it was "actually enough" — seemed to mostly care about the presidential outcome.
But, while they were wearing "Move Forward" shirts, they seemed to care mostly about the outcome of the presidential election.
"People are doing the best they can under extraordinary circumstances," Cohen said.
Neeta King, who has lived in Hoboken since 1999, was looking to get her husbands absentee ballot to the right place. After filling out the ballot last week, he hadn't had the chance to mail it before Sandy hit.
Her last option was to drive to the county clerk's office to drop off the sealed enveloppe in person.
"I don't know what to do, I don't drive," King said. "I feel bad now ... I really want this vote to go in."