NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long lines at polling sites persisted despite dreary weather on day six of early voting in New York City on Thursday.
Voters in Brownsville lined up early again, but elected officials said early voting turnout is lower there than in other parts of the district, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
Doors opened at Van Dyke Community Center at exactly 10 a.m. for voters – some arrived three hours early.
“The time doesn’t really matter. It goes by pretty fast. I just wanna vote and make a change,” said Irene Loftin.
“People who never voted before coming out to vote, and I’m very proud of that,” said Susan Simmons.
“This is the biggest turnout we had. What I had on day one is the amount of people I had in nine days of last year. That’s how serious it is,” said Khadijah Smith, coordinator for early voting at Van Dyke Community Center. “When you look at it, the amount of people that are out here now, that cuts down the amount of people that will be here on Nov. 3.”
Still, officials said Brownsville’s early voter turnout is about 30% below the rest of the district.
“We need community centers. We need healthcare options. Our parents need more supportive services and programs. It starts with your vote,” said Camara Jackson of Elite-Learners Inc.
Watch Jenna DeAngelis’ report:
Local leaders gathered to encourage the community, ensuring them their personal issues are on the ballot.
“Gun violence in our community, that is on the ballot. Police reform is on the ballot,” said State Sen. Zellnor Myrie.
The rain was unrelenting, but no match for a 99-year-old voter.
“I got all of the chronic diseases, but I come out here. I wrap up and I come out and I vote,” she told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
The enthusiasm and sense of duty was shared across the city, where 600,000 people have already voted early.
“I feel great. I feel lighter,” said Ronaldo DeSilva, who voted for the first time since becoming a citizen in 2013. “It’s very good to feel like I’m a part of the country. I can vote. I can help change things.”
In Crown Heights, voters arrived as early as 6:15 a.m. for early voting at St. John’s Recreation Center.
“Every time that I showed up, the lines was very, very long. All the way around the corner,” said Lovelle Mason.
Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas’ report:
“It’s dreary, but the spirit is high. Everyone is calm and, they’re just waiting patiently,” said Sharon Davis.
Many in line had umbrellas. Some brought chairs.
Precious Wiggins, a Crown Heights voter, had no problem waiting in the rain, but said that’s not true for all.
“I only care about the seniors, as far as coming out and voting and having comfortable places for them to vote,” Wiggins said.
The line to vote for seniors and people with disabilities was down the block in East Flatbush on Wednesday.
“More ballot boxes and locations would definitely help,” said voter Kevin Metlin.
Mayor de Blasio, who does not control the Board of Elections, is calling for it to be restructured.
“Early voting is a blessing. It should be handled a lot better by the Board of Elections,” said the mayor.
“The Board of Elections has failed,” Sen. Michael Gianaris told CBS2’s Cory James.
Gianaris is proposing a bill requiring every county be required to have one poll site for every 25,000 registered voters so that, in a democracy, casting a vote is not this chaotic.
“It’s simple math. If you have twice as many polling sites, the lines will be half as long. If you have three times as many, it’ll be a third as long,” he said.
🚨Expanded Early Voting Hours🚨 Polls are open longer this week! 10/30 7am to 5pm 10/31 7am to 5pm 11/1 7am to 4pm pic.twitter.com/DhBsCfIsdo
— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) October 27, 2020
The Board of Elections extended voting hours to accommodate the crowds. Polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the weekend.
Meanwhile in New Jersey, there are questions about whether you can vote in-person on Election Day.
Bergen County Superintendent of Elections Patricia DiCostanzo says her office gets 100-200 calls a day from voters.
“A lot of people are upset. They wanted to vote on a machine. They compare us to New York, and they say New York gave them a choice,” she said.
But back in August, Gov. Phil Murphy made the choice to sign legislation for mostly mail-in voting for the general election.
People choosing to vote in-person can only cast a paper provisional ballot on Election Day while a handheld device will be available for voters with disabilities.
“New Jersey likes to vote at the polls,” Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin said.
Because of that, Durkin is anticipating potentially long lines.
Since half of the polling centers will be open, he says more workers will be brought in to help.
“There will be more poll workers at each polling place to handle the special needs of each voter. This is across th e state of New Jersey,” Durkin said.
On Election Day, polls close at 8 p.m. in Connecticut and New Jersey and at 9 p.m. in New York.
Throughout the tri-state area, timing of all results varies.
Connecticut and New Jersey say it could take days, while New York plans to have unofficial voting results from in-person early voting and Election Day voting on Election Night.
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