Monday, November 3, 2008

Board of Elections Spokesman Shake Shack Joke

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Left, the line at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park in 2006. Right, voters waiting in line at Public School 316 in Brooklyn in 2005. (Photos: Ruby Washington/The New York Times and Michael Nagle for The New York Times)

By Sewell Chan\New York Times

At a news conference on Tuesday in Lower Manhattan, where officials of the city’s Board of Elections explained their preparations for the general election next Tuesday, Frederic M. Umane, one of the 10 board members, compared the long lines of voters to lunchtime customers:

"Will there by lines? Yes, there will be lines. We just hope people will be as patient to try to vote as they would be in waiting for a hamburger at one of the more fancy hamburger places. I understand the lines can be up to 2 to 3 hours."

Mr. Umane, a Manhattan Republican, hastened to add that “we do not expect” lines nearly as long.

The Elections Board came under intense criticism after the 2004 presidential election when voters waited for hours at the city’s 3,000-plus polling places and received confusing instructions from poorly trained poll workers. The board’s Election Day phone bank was overwhelmed — callers reported dropped and unanswered calls — and its Web site crashed under a surge of traffic.

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