SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy wasn’t about to keep Lewisboro residents Ruth and Bill Stein from their patriotic duty of voting.
The couple lost power in the wake of the storm last week and retreated to their Manhattan residence, which still had electricity. On Tuesday morning, they hit the road early to make it to their polling station at the South Salem firehouse.
“We were going to vote no matter what,” Bill Stein said as he looked around the room. “It seems like we are not the only ones who felt that way. I’ve never seen this many people voting.”
Election officials at the South Salem polling location were indeed reporting a larger-than-normal turnout.
“The turnout has been brisk,” said election inspector Ken Gilman. “From 6 to 9:30 this morning we had a lot of people. It’s tapered off a bit now, but it will pick up again at noon and then again at suppertime.”
Gilman said the power outages that still linger throughout town have not hampered voting efforts. If anything, he said, it may have increased the turnout.
“People are coming in just to get out of their house,” he said. “It’s something to do to relieve the boredom.”
Election Inspector Paul Sorokin said that the ballot-scanning election machines have been holding up so far.
“The machines are working perfectly,” he said. “There’s been no breakdown and we’ve had no complaints. There were a few cases where there were some ambiguous markings and that had to be redone, but other than that, no problems.”
South Salem resident Robert Markowitz said that in past presidential elections he has volunteered to make “get-out-and-vote” phone calls, but because of the power outages he wasn’t able to do that this year. However, he was still going to cast his vote.
“It’s great to vote at this polling place,” he said. “It’s busy, but you don’t have to wait. It’s a nice and relaxed atmosphere.”
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