Published November 06, 2012
Not even a Senate candidate is immune from strange goings on at the polling sites.
Wendy Long, the Republican candidate for Senate in New York, said she went to cast her vote Tuesday morning and got the runaround from a poll worker. Voting in the very blue New York borough of Manhattan, where voters fill out paper ballots, slip them into a “privacy sleeve” and then insert them into a scanner, Long said she had hers ripped away away by a poll worker.
"A poll worker who was at the scanner studied my private ballot and proceeded to tell me that it was rejected because I did not 'fill in every space,’” Long said. “She then proceeded to indicate that I should mark the Democratic line all the way down.”
Long, a seasoned attorney who was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and has served as an adviser to Mitt Romney for several years, said she knew better. She had elected not to mark the boxes next to Democrats who were running unopposed in local races, but that should not have made her ballot invalid.
“I said, I'm sorry, but that just can't be the case ... that would force me to vote for people I don't want to vote for,” Long, 52, recounted.
Long, who is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand and came to the polls with her family, said she demanded to be allowed to manually feed her own ballot into the scanner – which worked.
“I don’t want to attribute motivation to it,” Long said. “I always try to think the best. It was either just really bad training and complete ignorance or it was malfeasance. ... Someone else might remark their ballot differently, or change their vote. Your ballot is private it is not supposed to be studied.”
Long said she had her staff report it to the city board of elections, which promised to look into it.
Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said she was not aware of Long's complaint, but she agreed that if it happened the way Long described it, it was improper. She said most of the complaints in New York on Tuesday were about long lines at the polls.