SOMERS, N.Y. – Twenty-five percent of District 17’s 800 registered voters had already cast their ballots by 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Somers Library.
“There’s a parking problem because the Reis Park parking lot is closed for renovations,” said Elections Inspector Mary Schleissmann, “but people have been courteous and understanding and kind. We hit the ground running at 6 a.m. At one point, between 8 and 9 a.m., there were about 50 people in line, but nobody was complaining.”
Schleissmann has been trained to supervise the Plan B voting machine, designated for the handicapped. “You can listen on headphones and go back and forth on the screen. It has a sip-and-puff device and braille and a battery backup. It takes about 20 minutes to complete one vote.”
The law requires a Plan B machine in every polling place, with one trained person from each party in the room at all times, Schleissmann explained.
“I’ve been doing this for five years,” she said, “but I’ve never seen one person use the machine. I go to training workshops in Yonkers and of all the people there, only one has ever had somebody use the machine. One time. But they probably use them more in the city.”
In the five hours since the polls opened, there had been no irregularities or problems. “The people who work in the library are veterans at this,” she said. “They’ve been doing it a long time.”
Amy Kornfeld, seated at one of the tables, said she thought people were unusually anxious this year. “They seem to feel strongly one way or the other. I think we have an unusually large turnout.” A couple of nice incidents, she added, were “three happy teenagers who were voting for the first time. And one new citizen.”
Voters are reminded that the Reis Park parking lots are closed and voters must park on the grass at the Library.