Minor glitches, parking problems at polling places

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A handful of voting equipment glitches and parking problems turned up at Suffolk polling places Tuesday, but none were major problems, Electoral Board officials said.

“We’ve had a few minor problems, but we have them at every election so it’s been nothing out of the ordinary,” board secretary David Sylvia said. “A lot of them were very minor.”

For example, the electronic poll books at one precinct would not work initially because the outlet they were plugged into was malfunctioning. Once the problem was corrected, they worked fine, Sylvia said.

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Parking at some precincts turned out to be a problem. At one polling place, King’s Fork Middle School, the school system held a teachers’ conference that brought teachers from all over the system to the school. Therefore, there were very few places for voters to park, Sylvia said.

Bethanne Bradshaw, spokeswoman for Suffolk Public Schools, acknowledged the problem and said the conference had been moved to the high school across the street, which is not a polling place, for the afternoon sessions.

“When we got the letter from the city [listing polling places], it didn’t have King’s Fork Middle,” Bradshaw said. “Not that we shouldn’t have known, but it was an oversight.”

“It’s very important that we try to accommodate the voters at the polls, but we still have to work,” she added.

Sylvia said turnout had been steady throughout the day. “For a general election, it’s what we normally get,” he said. But, he added, “It’s nothing like we had in ’08.” Turnout also fell from the last midterm elections in 2006. About 41 percent of voters came out this week, but nearly 50 percent of registered voters turned out in 2006. That election also featured a Congressional seat and three constitutional amendments, but also included Senate elections.

City Council and School Board seats were elected in May until 2008.