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Gianaris Introduces Legislation to Increase the Number of Early-Voting Sites

The line of people waiting to vote at York College on the first day of Early Voting (Queens Borough President Sharon Lee via Twitter)

Oct. 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents western Queens, introduced legislation today to almost double the number of early voting sites in the state.

The bill comes after an analysis of early voting sites in New York City found the number of registered voters assigned to an early voting site varied greatly across the boroughs — with little regard to the capacity of each poll site.

Some early voting sites have upwards of 100,000 voters assigned to them, while others have just 10,000 or less, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB) analysis.

On average, 55,130 registered voters are assigned to a site citywide, the analysis found.

Gianaris’ bill would slash than number by more than half. It would require every county in the state to have one poll site per 25,000 registered voters — thus increasing the number of early voting poll sites in New York City from 88 sites to 208.

“Boards of Elections failed to adequately provide enough Early Voting opportunities this year,” Gianaris said in a statement. “All over the state, people have been waiting several hours to vote, which is not what our democracy should look like.”

The Senate Deputy Leader himself witnessed the long lines at early voting sites.

He said he waited at least two hours to vote at the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria on Tuesday, despite the fact that the museum had less Queens voters assigned to it than the majority of early voting sites in the borough.

MOMI had the third lowest number of voters assigned to it among Queens early voting sites, at 48,495 people, according to the NYCCFB analysis.

The average number of registered voters assigned to each early voting site was the highest in Queens and beats the citywide average. The number comes in at 68,395 voters per site in the borough.

Gianaris’ bill would drastically increase the number of Queens early voting sites from 18 to 48 sites.

The NYC Board of Elections (BOE) has been greatly criticized by elected officials and every day New Yorkers alike for the hours-long waits during early voting, which runs through Sunday.

As of Thursday, 702,408 New Yorkers have casted their ballots during early voting — including 150,283 Queens voters.

The BOE extended the hours of its early-voting poll sites for this weekend in an effort to ease the lines.

However, Gianaris said that effort isn’t enough.

“The current structure of our Boards of Elections has failed to fulfill its primary mission of facilitating voting,” he said in a statement. “Drastic reform is necessary.”

The Queens early voting sites are listed below, ordered from the highest number of voters assigned to the site to the lowest.

Early Voting Poll Site Name Poll Site Address Assigned Reg. Voters
Helen Marshall Cultural Center at Queens Borough Hall 120-55 Queens Boulevard 98,012
Resorts World Casino New York City 110-00 Rockaway Boulevard 97,677
Rochdale Village Community Center 169-65 137 Avenue 96,194
York College, Academic Core Building 94-20 Guy R Brewer Boulevard 82,404
Creedmoor Hospital 79-25 Winchester Boulevard 82,038
Korean Community Services 203-05 32 Avenue 81,104
Board of Elections – Queens Voting Machine Facility Annex 66-26 Metropolitan Ave 79,226
The Boys’ Club of New York – Abbe Clubhouse 133-01 41 Road 69,341
Queens College, City University of New York 65-30 Kissena Boulevard 66,734
Queens Public Library at Jackson Heights 35-51 81 Street 65,678
LaGuardia Community College 31-10 Thomson Avenue 63,985
Rockaway YMCA 207 Beach 73 Street 63,520
Rego Center Community Room 61-00 97 Street 58,286
Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens 21-12 30 Road 52,474
Queensborough Elks Lodge No. 878 82-20 Queens Boulevard 50,869
Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35 Avenue 48,495
Holy Trinity Parish Church 222-05 116 Avenue 44,483
First Baptist Church Of East Elmhurst 100-10 Astoria Boulevard 30,589

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Paul

While a reasonable amount of early voting sites is good, legislation should be passed mandating that the top officials at the DOE are not patronage, crony jobs.

That is as big a problem as anything re this issue, with incompetents at the top as evidenced by the recent long longs.

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