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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Burst Pipe Shuts Down West Town Voting Site, But Ballots Should Be Safe, Officials Say

People affected by the shutdown have been told to vote at the Goldblatt's Building.

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CHICAGO — A burst pipe shut down a West Town polling place Tuesday — but the votes should be safe, officials said.

About 3:30 p.m., a pipe burst in the ceiling at James Otis School, 525 N. Armour St., which was the polling place for the the 1st Ward’s 47th precinct. Officials had to shut down the polling place and direct voters to go to the Goldblatt’s Building, 1615 W. Chicago Ave., said Jim Allen, the Chicago Board of Elections spokesman.

Voting has continued at the Goldblatt’s Building, Allen said.

“… It wasn’t just a little bit of sprinkler action; there was a lot of water in the polling place,” Allen said during a Tuesday evening call with reporters. “It was an inconvenience and a hazard to the poll workers and the voters alike.”

Officials don’t think any ballots were damaged because they had already been fed into a scanner, which should have protected them from the water, Allen said.

Even if water did get into the scanner, it would likely only damage the top few ballots, and those will be safeguarded, Allen said. Officials do have a “contingency plan” for situations like that, he said.

“We’ll make every effort to make sure we secure and recover every single ballot,” Allen said. “We should be in good shape there.”

Otherwise, Election Day has been running smoothly throughout Chicago, Allen said. There have been a few reports of technical issues and other minor problems, but no polling sites are expected to need to stay open late.

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