Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa had a tough time at the polls on Tuesday — as the cat-carrying Guardian Angels founder was instructed not to wear his signature red jacket, or to bring his cat into the voting location before his ballot jammed the vote-counting machine.
Injured arm in a sling, red beret on his head and one of his several rescue cats in hand, Sliwa was told by a poll worker when he arrived about 10:20 a.m. that he couldn’t wear his jacket with “Curtis Sliwa for NYC Mayor” emblazoned on it due to regulations barring electioneering in and around voting locations — nor could he bring in his feline.
It took Sliwa about an hour and 20 minutes to vote for himself in the Election Day debacle — a process he claimed showed the “deck” was “stacked” against him.
“Wow, the deck is really stacked,” Sliwa lamented. “First of all, the no pet sign. I’ve never seen a no pet sign before.”
Sliwa told The Post that, during early voting, the no-jacket rule was not enforced and there was not a no-pet sign outside the voting facilities.
“I’ve dealt with the Board of Elections many, many times. Now I come through the front doors, they tell me I have to take off the jacket and my wife, Nancy, has to take off the jacket. We are going to be there, what, three minutes. It’s not a complicated ballot. It’s not a presidential year,” he fumed.
“Man, this is what you called busting my stones.”
Though he left his kitten, Gizmo, outside with a campaign staffer, Sliwa refused to remove his red jacket.
“We’re going to have to wait this out because I ain’t taking this jacket off. Hell no, hell no,” he said.
“Let them get a cop and have me arrested for trying to exercise the privilege that every citizen has to vote simply because I have a jacket on.”
The citizen crimefighter ultimately triumphed in his fight to keep his jacket on, but the longshot mayoral contender had a harder time after that — struggling to actually cast a vote for himself in his contest against Democrat Eric Adams, who voted earlier in the day without incident.
Sliwa explained that after he filled out his ballot and scanned it, the machine displayed a message that his ballot had been “accepted” but not “deposited.”
“The ballot has been counted but it didn’t drop into the ballot box. Please contact a poll worker. Please follow local procedures for clearing a ballot,” it read.
“It had not made a copy, which meant the ballot hadn’t been processed,” Sliwa said.
A poll worker then walked to the machine, and proceeded to “karate chop” the back of it “the way you would if you had just lost your money in a vending machine when you tried to get your Frito-Lays,” he joked.
“Everyone is saying, ‘Hey guy, you can’t do that. This is not a vending machine,’” Sliwa recalled.
The poll site did not have a person on hand to repair the machine, so after a 40-minute wait, Sliwa’s paper was removed from the machine, and the GOP underdog again submitted his ballots with success.
Sliwa quipped of the election-bungling Board of Elections workers, “I’m so glad they are not controlling the nuclear codes.”