New Yorkers Vote Despite Hurricane Sandy Hurdles

Category: Media & Culture / Nov 06, 2012 4:46PM EDT
Already faced with a massive cleanup and nightmarish commutes to work, voters in storm-struck New York and New Jersey may have a tough time voting on Tuesday (November 6) in a cliffhanger presidential election. Many polling stations across New York were added and others were relocated on Monday (November 5) to ensure voting for people in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and to ease the way for residents already coping with devastating flood damage, power outages and widespread fuel shortages. In Queens, one of the boroughs of New York, people from the state cast their ballots in tents that have been set up in Rockaway Park -- one of the worst-hit areas when superstorm Sandy forced her way across the northeast one week ago. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Monday that allowed voters to cast ballots at voting stations other than the ones to which they are assigned. His order arose from concern that hundreds of thousands of New York residents could be effectively disenfranchised by the damage to many polling places caused by Sandy. People in the area who arrived to cast their ballots, were glad about the make-shift station and thankful that they could still vote despite the damage left behind by Sandy. "This is great, this is what America is all about. You get knocked down, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you get going. And this is wonderful. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to vote today," said New York resident Maureen Walsh. New York native Teasther Saunderson was also happy with the governor's decision, saying: "Because it's my privilege, it's my right. Why should I give it up. I shouldn't let anything stop me. Once upon a time you couldn't vote. So now, I'm taking advantage of it." Today was particularly important for Raul Romero, also a New York resident. "The word 'ecstatic' is not even a good word. You know I was scared to death I wasn't going to get an opportunity to vote. I actually thought they were going to cancel the voting for this entire area. I was driving down to go to FEMA and I see these three tents, I didn't even know where the voting was!," said Romero. Local Bill Fitzgerald was impressed with the structure of the voting system in Queens. "I think it's been pretty organized. It's not too bad, I thought it was going to be worse. It's worked out really well," he said.