Voting stations are lined up for polling sites across New York City. It's an annual sight that's happening earlier than usual at the New York City Board of Elections warehouse in Sunset Park because early voting finally has come to New York.
"We have been at the bottom of the country in voter participation," said Democratic State Sen. Zellnor Myrie of Brooklyn. "I think that early voting is going to help us go from worst to first, and I'm excited to help kick it off."
Myrie sponsored the early voting bill, and the Senate's new Democratic majority passed it. 61 polling sites will open across the city beginning Saturday:
- 11 in the Bronx
- 18 in Brooklyn
- 9 in Manhattan
- 14 in Queens
- 9 on Staten Island
"Instead of having one day to partake in your democracy, you're going to have nine days before Election Day to do that." Myrie said. "So if you have an obligation on Election Day, whether that be a family obligation, a work obligation, you have a small business you have to run, that's OK. We're saying today that you could still partake in your democracy by voting when it's most easy and accessible to you."
Also new this election are tablets that will function as electronic poll books, replacing those big printed registration books poll workers have used on past Election Days.
All voters will be mailed ID cards that can be scanned by poll workers to retrieve registration information. Or voters can simply provide their names to poll workers, as Board of Election worker Lloyd Gibbs explains.
"We would touch manual entry and then we would type in the letters, the first three letters of their last name and the first three letters of their first name," Gibbs says.
"We are doing an any line, any time scenario, at the early voting sites to get that off the ground so that we can test it and more broadly implement it on Election Day," Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan said. "That will be another way that we can use the technology to service the voters better."
With so many changes to navigate, voters can go to vote.nyc to find the location and the hours of their early voting site.
Those big printed books are not gone entirely; they'll be used as backups just in case something happens with the electronic system.
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