Prepared Voters Can Reduce Potential Problems On Election Day

Attorney General Spitzer today urged New Yorkers to familiarize themselves with the ballot and to know their voting rights before heading to the polls on Tuesday.

In light of high-profile voting irregularities in recent years, such as the 2000 and 2002 balloting problems in Florida, Spitzer urged voters to be prepared as they head to the polls. Spitzer's office issued a report in February 2001 recommending improvements to New York's election system.

"Our right to vote was won and defended at great cost," said Spitzer. "Informed voters who are committed to exercising their right to vote are the bedrock of our democracy. By following a few simple guidelines, voters can help reduce potential problems at the polling place and ensure that their ballots count."

New York law provides that voters may:

  • Vote in privacy at a polling place, regardless of physical disability;
  • Request assistance in voting from a bi-partisan team of poll workers who must provide help without influencing their vote, or from anyone the voter chooses, other than a union representative or employer.
  • Vote by paper emergency ballot at the polling place if the voting machine is broken;
  • Vote by paper affidavit ballot if poll workers cannot find a voters's registration or challenge a voter's registration;
  • Use another paper ballot if the voter's paper ballot is defective, mutilated or spoiled; and,
  • Vote even after the polls close provided they were waiting on line.

Spitzer suggested that voters study a sample ballot before going to the polls to become familiar with the placement of candidate names and any referendum or local issues on the ballot;

Voters with questions about election procedures or those wishing to report voting problems should contact the State Board of Elections at 518-474-6220, the New York City Board of Elections, 866-868-3692 or their county board of elections. The Attorney General's Report, "Voting Matters in New York," can be accessed at the Attorney General's website, www.ag.ny.gov

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