Election Day LIRR delays derail some voters

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HICKSVILLE -

Some Long Island commuters say they couldn't vote on Election Day because Long Island Rail Road delays derailed their plans.

"I walked in my house at around 9 p.m.," says Shannon Welch, a Farmingdale resident who found herself stranded for hours after a car got stuck on the tracks in Mineola. "So I did not vote as I had planned."

"I have a right to have a voice, and I wasn't able to exercise that because of something as silly as being delayed on my commute home," she says.

Adding to the mess was a second car on the tracks in Wyandanch. A train struck that one, causing even more problems in Suffolk County.

The delays also caused crowds of waiting passengers to build up at Penn Station.

David Gugerty, from the Nassau Board of Elections, says officials kept an eye on the train situations.

"The intention was to see what the governor would decide, whether an order would be issued to extend voting hours," Gugerty says. "We were ready, willing and able to do that."

But ultimately, the state chose not to make any changes.

Gugerty says in the future, people who fear they might be delayed by commuting problems can file absentee ballots -- in advance.

He says that if a voter fills out an absentee ballot but makes it home on time anyway, they can still head to the polling place. The Board of Elections says the vote cast there is the one that would count.

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