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Monroe County elections officials say concerns about polling places are being addressed

Corn Hill Landing in downtown Rochester.
WXXI photo
Corn Hill Landing in downtown Rochester.

June 23, the  day set aside for primaries and special elections  brought unique challenges for candidates, voters and election officials and their staffs.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there were changes to polling places, and apparently some confusion at some venues, with voters unsure if they were at the right place.

Hanna Bergwall said she was a little confused when she first arrived at a Baptist Church at the corner of Adams and Clarissa Street in Rochester to vote because that's not her normal polling place. 

She said she wasn't given the correct number of ballots, but after finally receiving them, she discovered there were only four seats at a table to fill out the ballot, and the seats were right on top of each other.

“I sat down and somebody sat down next to me, and we were literally elbow to elbow. There was no social distancing happening which made me a little uncomfortable," Bergwall said that she then discovered she was given the wrong ballot, which she said led to more confusion among poll workers.

Monroe County Elections Commissioners Lisa Nicolay and Acting Commissioner LaShana Boose said they were not aware of problems at that particular polling place.

But early Tuesday evening they issued a statement which said that the COVID-19 pandemic forced consolidated polling locations, additional training requirements and three separate elections to be conducted simultaneously. The commissioners said that every concern brought to the Board of Elections “was taken seriously, investigated and dealt with accordingly. They said that commissioners and staff conducted site visits throughout the day and immediately addressed concerns, and their statement also said that “isolated incidents of human error were found and corrected.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.