Niagara Gazette

November 5, 2013

Small type adds problems for some voters

By Don Glynn
Niagara Gazette

Weather was hardly a negative factor on Election Day — a brisk 46 degrees and mostly sunny — but a number of people were heard to complain about the type size on the ballot.

Under the headings (e.g. "Vote for Only One") some voters mistakingly cast their choice for two State Supreme Court justices, thus invalidating their ballots. They were given additional chances to correct it, but a third time was the limit. Some said the type at the top of the column, stating how many selections the voter should make, was too small to read. 

One woman at a polling place in the city's North End voted once for Russ Vesci and twice for Sam Fruscione in the seven-candidate race for three open City Council seats. Voters had been instructed to "Vote for Any Three." An inspector informed her that the ballot was invalid because of the double vote for Fruscione. 

Archie Archibald, an inspector working at the Third District poll in the Wrobel Towers, 800 Niagara Ave., had placed a Board of Elections sample ballot — showing both sides — on a table adjacent to the voting booths. "That's been a problem," he said, pointing to the six referendums printed on the back of the ballot. "We've been reminding them of that so, hopefully, they will not overlook those proposals," he added.

The Wrobel Towers polling place has 690 registered voters including those living in the 13-story high-rise as well as homes and apartments in the neighborhood. By 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, only 55 persons had voted there.

A generally slow turnout also was evident at the Niagara Falls Public Library where residents in the Fifth and Sixth Districts were voting. In the Fifth, only 10 percent of the 799 registered votes had cast their ballots by 3 p.m. The turnout was even worse in the Sixth District with 38 votes from the 513 eligible voters. Were there any common complaints from those who did show up at the polls? "Most of them said they would prefer having the old machines back," said Geri Mitro, one of the inspectors on duty.

One City Council candidate carried the campaign beyond the bounds where supporters could vote for her. Two signs to re-elect Kristen Grandinetti (for council) were spotted in front of homes along River Road, Town of Lewiston, about six miles from the Niagara Falls city line. A homeowner near one of the signs explained, "They just put it on the lawn because they're related to her."