NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Voter turnout in the Tri-State Area is expected to be unprecedented and so is the number of people registering to work at the polls.
But, as CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Monday, the coronavirus pandemic could cause transportation challenges.
“They tell you the first thing when you walk in you’re needed at 5 a.m. and you will not be leaving until 10 p.m.,” Chelsea resident Glenn Payne said.
Payne is fresh out of one of the four-hour poll worker training classes being held at the Jacob Javits Center. He was told workers will use iPads and ballot scanners to register voters behind plastic sheets. The 38-year-old signed up to be a part of the process for the first time this year.
“I’m really not concerned how much I’m going to be making as much as I’m going to be making a difference,” Payne said.
Like Payne, Boerum Hill resident Jude Allred applied after reading most poll workers are over the age of 61 and are sitting this year out since they’re considered to be a high risk to catch the coronavirus.
Several states, including New York, also allow 17-year-olds who can’t vote to become poll workers, with their parents’ consent.
“The training was incredibly dull, but gave me an appreciation for the integrity of the system,” Allred said. “Like, they have Democrats and Republicans paired at all the stations.”
Allred and Payne have not been assigned a polling location, but hope it’s within walking distance for that 5 a.m. start time.
One government source told Rozner the Board of Elections is so overwhelmed right now, it will likely just place people where they are needed the most, not necessarily what’s convenient to where they live.
“How are they going to get to work if the subways are closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.?,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said.
Brewer said she is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to open the subway system at 3 a.m. on Election Day. The agency’s chief safety officer said it is committed to making sure New York gets to vote and that residents should rely on its robust 24-7 bus system.
“You have to plan accordingly to get to where you need to go but the service is there,” an MTA official said.
He added opening the system earlier would compromise the cleaning process and that he’s in touch with the Board of Elections daily.
Brewer said she is asking the governor to get involved.
No one from the city got back to CBS2 about the matter.
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