NEW YORK – Audrey Schwartz hasn't lived in her Battery Park City apartment since Sept. 11, staying with friends in another part of Manhattan while she waits for the reopening of her building, near the World Trade Center.
But she made a trip to the area to take part in Election Day.
"I think it's important to vote, especially under these conditions," the 44-year-old trader at Merrill Lynch said late Tuesday afternoon. "You can't complain about what's wrong if you don't vote."
Schwartz, a Democrat, said she hadn't yet decided whether to vote for Democratic mayoral candidate Mark Green or his rival, Republican Michael Bloomberg, an unusual amount of indecision for her.
"They're very similar in beliefs and attitudes," she said. "I don't think I'm particularly enthused about either one."
Schwartz wasn't the only displaced lower Manhattan resident to go back to exercise voting rights.
"For me, it was one of the most normal things I've done so far," said Deborah Uller, 44, who hasn't moved back to her Rector Street apartment yet and said she was still suffering depression and shock from the terrorist attack.
The attack and its aftermath played a part in her decision. Uller is a Democrat, but she voted for billionaire businessman Bloomberg, at least partially because of Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's endorsement of him as the right candidate to lead the city during its post-attack fiscal crisis.
"I think he's the better of the two," she said. "I don't really have a lot of confidence in Green."
It wasn't only homes from which residents were displaced -- it was their polling place as well.
Voters went to the Battery Park City Authority building on South End Avenue to cast their ballots. Their usual location was the World Financial Center, near the demolished World Trade Center and still part of the restricted-access zone.
Marc Freeman didn't care where the voting booth was. The 53-year-old investment adviser has been living with friends but said he would have gone wherever he needed to be to cast his vote.
"I've never missed an election in my life," he said.
Freeman said he voted for Green, the city's public advocate, and didn't think Bloomberg was qualified to be mayor.
"As far as I'm concerned," Freeman said, "he's a nonentity."