NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This is the first time New York is conducting early voting in a presidential election.
It begins Saturday, but is the city ready, considering some previous issues?
Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center are being used for early voting. Officials want to make sure people look up their assigned early voting site because it may be different than their normal election day site.
City officials said Thursday they don’t expect things to go smoothly.
“We’re not expecting perfection on those nine days. We’re not expecting perfection on Election Day,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams told reporters, including CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) October 22, 2020
But they are anticipating long lines on Election Day, itself. So, they’re pushing people to vote early and not to get dissuaded by misinformation circulating. State Attorney General Letitia James is investigating some robocalls attempting to do just that.
“Robocalls indicating that if you are an anti-vaxxer, if you are against vaccinations, that by voting early that somehow you will be forced to take a vaccination,” James said.
That’s, of course, not true, but Williams said misinformation, coupled with the recent mishap in which a vendor sent absentee ballot envelopes to people in Brooklyn with mismatched names, “has a chilling effect on people who are already concerned.”
On Thursday, voting rights groups, along with the public advocate and attorney general, announced the statewide nonpartisan Election Protection Program. The group Common Cause New York will deploy hundreds of volunteers to help voters.
“Answer some basic questions. Be sure that the polling place is open on time. Be sure that all the machines are working, that the lines, if there are lines, are orderly and people know how to go in and where to go,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.
The city has 88 early voting sites.
“One thing to consider is that we don’t have universal poll sites, so those locations are only available for that who have been assigned as a poll site for early voting,” said Sabrina Castillo, director of partnership and outreach for the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Early voting begins Saturday and runs through Nov. 1. Voters can request absentee ballots until Tuesday.
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.