Brawl For The Hall
by Adam Lisberg,Celeste Katz, Erin Einhorn, Frank Lombardi and Michael Saul
September 15, 2009 3:01 PM By Adam Lisberg
Right place, wrong ballot: Problems in the 40th CD -- UPDATED
Reports are coming in of ballot problems in Brooklyn's 40th Council District in Flatbush and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, where voters are finding ballots for the nearby 45th Council race instead.
UPDATE: Everyone victimized by the wrong ballots is out of luck, the Board of Elections says below.
The campaigns of Councilman Mathieu Eugene and challenger Rock Hackshaw say their phones have been ringing with similar complaints.
"We have a lot of people who went to one place and did not find the ballot. Many people are being turned down," said a man who answered the phone at Eugene's shop.
Hackshaw's daughter Reeza Jack-Hackshaw picked up the phone at her father's office and said she had just taken a call from a woman with a similar complaint.
"Now that we know this, that means nobody who voted until now is going to count, and that was one of the areas we were strong in," she said.
Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez-Rivera checked out one report after the Brawl called this morning and said they had received no reports of problems, but would seek more information.
UPDATE: At 2:38 p.m., Vazquez-Rivera called back to say yes, the voters were right and the ballots were wrong. She couldn't say how many voters were disenfranchised or why it took so long to fix despite repeated voter complaints.
"The poll workers were given orders to shut down the machine," Vazquez-Rivera said. "They were ordered to use paper ballots while they're waiting for a standby machine. Those votes that were cast for the 45th will not be counted, but everything else above the ballot will be counted."
Here's what one frustrated voter wrote the Brawl about his experience at a Marlborough Road polling place:
I voted, albeit for a candidate who should not have appeared on the ballot. I spoke to one of the registrars, who advised me to call the Brooklyn office of the Board of Elections. I then went to work.
Just now I called the Board of Elections. The operator confirmed that 34 ED, 42 AD should have shown City Council district 40 rather than 45. She then transferred me to an "Operations" number. But all I got was voicemail, and the outgoing voicemail message made no reference to election day operations. That's where things stand.
I anticipated that the Board of Elections would be unresponsive, so that's why I have been emailing news media and candidates' campaign email addresses, where available.