Early voting is done. Here’s how it went. (Don’t forget: Election Day is tomorrow.)
Now that New York finished its first early voting election process — which consisted of nine days and 248 polling sites across the state — how did it go?
According to the preliminary numbers from New York City’s Board of Elections, which operated 61 early voting sites, more than 60,000 people voted across the five boroughs — about the same amount of Brooklyn votes that went to Jumaane Williams in the special election for public advocate back in February. Approximately 6,700 votes were cast a day.
Early voting began on Saturday, Oct. 26, and ran until Nov. 3. Manhattan had the most voters participate with more than 19,800 votes cast. Brooklyn came in second with nearly 18,000 votes being cast across 18 polling sites, according to the preliminary count.
Queens saw 13,129 votes cast, and the Bronx and Staten Island each accounted for less than 5,000 votes.
Overall, more than 256,000 people voted early in New York State, the state Board of Elections said, Most votes were cast Sunday, Nov. 3. The state is the 39th to implement an early voting system in a bid to get more voters out to the polls.
In 2020, there will be 27 days of early voting: nine days ahead of the presidential primary on April 28, and nine more for the state and federal primaries on June 23. The general election on Nov. 3 will have nine days of early voting as well. The state allocated $10 million in the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget for the process.
“Statewide turnout, unofficially, is approximately 1.9 percent over the nine days. With nothing to compare it to, we don’t know yet if that is high or low. After the election we will get together with our local commissioners, vendors and other stakeholders and review everything ” said Todd Valentine, the state Board of Elections’ co-executive director. “We’ll look at what worked well, what didn’t work so well, what adjustments need to be made to improve the experience and what if any recommendations we may want to make to state lawmakers.”
Early voting according to one Brooklyn Eagle reporter, was “amazing” and “is the way voting is supposed to be.”
Voters who were able to participate in the process were supposedly met with friendly election staffers and a computerized system — part of voting reform legislation passed earlier this year — instead of the traditional printed polling books, that made the process quick and easy. The polling sites were also said to be free of long lines and confusion.
The polls will be closed on Monday, Nov. 4, ahead of the conventional, always on-time Election Day of Tuesday, Nov. 5.
This year’s general election ballot will include races for public advocate, Queens district attorney, Council District 45 in Brooklyn and five ballot referendums to amend the City Charter.
As part of the five ballot proposals, voters will get the chance to weigh in on ranked choice voting, changes to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, rules for government ethics, a rainy-day fund for the city budget and a longer timetable for public input during the ULURP process, which is triggered when a developer applies for changes or exceptions to the city’s zoning laws.
The most important question on the ballot this “off election year” may be ranked choice voting. The proposal will look to amend the New York City Charter to give voters the opportunity to rank candidates in numerical order (instead of voting for just one candidate) in primaries and special elections for mayor, City Council, public advocate, comptroller and borough president. Voters would be allowed to rank up to five candidates.
“Ranked choice voting is going to make it so that whoever wins will reflect communities at large and make it so city government is representing the people of New York,” said Rachel Bloom, director of public policy & programs at Citizens Union/Citizens Union Foundation.
Bloom, who represents a good government group, went on to note that city elections tend to draw a wide range of candidates, allowing for a candidate to win with less than 50 percent of the vote, which is not always reflective of the entire voting population. In the 2013 mayoral election, de Blasio ended up with 40 percent of the vote in an eight-person field.
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