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Lower Than Usual Turnout At Pulaski Street Polling Site

Many who did vote are from other areas and not able to get home to their official polling places.

The crowds voting at the Pulaski Street School in Riverhead were thinner than usual this year -- and election coordinators blamed it on Superstorm Sandy.

"I think it has hindered turnout," said Pat Womack, volunteer coordinator at the Pulaski Street school polling location. Many residents are without fuel, she added.

James Ellwood, another coordinator, said a large number of individuals had turned out from other districts, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing residents to vote anywhere in New York State, as long as they signed an affidavit.

The Pulaski Street location, Ellwood added, is never the most populated polling place.

Womack added that a large percentage of those who turned out Tuesday were currently living in shelters, displaced from the hurricane.

"I think everyone should get out and vote somewhere," Theodora Midgette, a third election coordinator, said. "It's very important."

Among the voters who turned out at Pulaski Street, almost all agreed the number one issue facing residents today in the United States is the economy.

Some residents felt compelled to vote in what they considered a pivotal election.

Riverhead resident Kat Lupo, voting for the first time, said she felt she had to vote in the election to support President Barack Obama.

"Being a young woman, I had to side with Obama," she said.

With social media alive with comments from many people her age supporting challenger Mitt Romney, Lupo said, "Something new doesn't always mean something better."

Many of those questioned at the site agreed with Lupo, while others staunchly chose Romney.

Hannah Cichy, who said she believed the most critical issue in the campaign was immigration, supported Obama at the polls. "I don't think he's done such a bad job," she said. "He came when things were a mess; he has to clean it up. It takes a while to do that."

Craig S., meanwhile, who asked that his last name not be given, said he supported Romney. "I think right now America needs more of a fiscal-minded president," he said. "Our nation is suffering." He added that he does not appreciate young people coming to the United States for higher education and taking their skills back to their countries of origin.

Ty Smith and Tara Martinson, meanwhile, both cast their ballots for Obama. 

Smith said he believes the most critical problem in government today is the lack of support for the President by Congress, who he said blocked measures to keep Obama from being re-elected.

Martinson said legislation should be created to regulate filibusters. A bipartisan approach, she added, is also key. "We need to stop name-calling and put America first, before political parties," she said.

"The office of the President is the highest in the land," agreed Smith.

Voter Fred Harris said Romney was his choice. "I believe he has the ability to create change -- and the background to change the economy," he said.

Obama, Harris said, was not a plum choice for the presidential seat the first time around and did not have the political experience or training for the job. "He never ran a business," he added. "I really don't believe he was qualified."

Shana Mack, the mother of baby son voting for Obama, said the vote symbolized more than just a single election. "As a black woman who now has the right to vote, I should vote," she said. "I'm just trying to do the right thing."

 

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