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Short Election Day lines at Brooklyn polls as final votes cast

November 3, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle Staff, Associated Press
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New Yorkers cast their final ballots Tuesday amid a pandemic that had officials worried about protecting the health of voters and safety on top of more typical concerns about long wait times or adequate staffing.

But on Tuesday morning, voters at several Brooklyn locations reported short wait times. There were no lines in Boerum Hill, where voters expressed both urgency and resignation over how the election would turn out.

“The country is so divided that I feel like it’s not going to be good either way,” said Nurit Dallimore, who likened the political climate to the “war zone” atmosphere she remembers from her native Israel. “Someone’s going to find something to riot about.”

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In Downtown Brooklyn, several businesses had by Monday boarded or papered their windows in an effort to prevent damage amid potential unrest.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said she will work with local election boards and law enforcement to “swiftly address any incidents of intimidation or harassment.”

The good-government group Common Cause New York has enlisted volunteers to monitor polling sites and help people who have problems voting.

In past elections, 90 percent of New York’s vote was cast on Election Day, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo relaxed the state’s rules this year to allow anyone worried about the coronavirus to vote by mail.

A record 3.5 million votes were cast in New York before the polls even opened on Election Day. In Brooklyn, long lines resulted in hours-long waits at polling places.

At least 1 million absentee ballots had been turned in as of Friday, according to the state Board of Election. Any ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted.

Voters lined up on Remsen Street in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday, before polls opened at 6 a.m. Photo: Will Hasty/Brooklyn Eagle

This was also the first presidential election in which the state allowed early, in-person voting. More than 2.5 million such ballots were cast, despite hours-long lines at the limited number of early voting stations.

About 7.8 million ballots of all types were cast in New York in the 2016 presidential election.

State and local election officials warn it could take weeks to know the results of tight races.

State law delays the absentee count start until at least Nov. 6 and gives counties until Nov. 28 to report results. That gives local election officials time to cross-check voting data and audit in-person votes.

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