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Polling sites have changed for 86,500 voters between June and August primaries

The switch-up in poll sites between the two summer primaries could add to voter confusion in a low-turnout election season.

July 27, 2022 Rachel Holliday Smith, THE CITY
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Logo for THE CITYThis article was originally published on by THE CITY.

Polling sites have changed for about 86,500 New Yorkers between the June primary for statewide races and Assembly seats and the upcoming second primary in August for Congressional and State Senate seats, THE CITY has learned, potentially adding confusion to a contest that is likely to see low voter turnout.

Vincent Ignizio, deputy executive director of the city Board of Elections, said the changes are due to a combination of factors: a drop in the number of people eligible to vote in August versus June, voting sites such as schools not being available next month — and a surprise double primary season due to the Court of Appeals overruling New York’s redistricting process and political maps earlier this year.

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“When you redistrict the entire city, there’s always going to be alterations. We got thrown for a loop with an additional primary that we hadn’t anticipated,” he said.

He added that more than a million voters who were eligible to cast ballots in June do not have a primary on their ballot in August, and therefore will not need to go to the polls. In June, 3.6 voters were eligible to vote. In August, just 2.3 million are eligible.

Each voter typically has an assigned polling location for the early voting period — which begins on August 13 for the second summer primary — and a separate location for the traditional Tuesday Election Day, on August 23.

There will be 107 early voting sites this August, and 967 polling sites open on August 23, Ignizio said.

Multiple voters told THE CITY that their early voting site, their Election Day site or both has been changed ahead of the August 23 primary.

Anne V., a voter of more than three decades in the West Village, told THE CITY she has voted for all of that time at P.S. 41 on West 11th Street.

Now, according to the BOE’s poll site locator, her site has changed to The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center at 208 W. 13th St.

“I’m kind of shocked,” she said, sharing only her middle name and last initial due to privacy concerns. “It never occurred to me that the place would be changed.”

Former poll workers waited to enter a Downtown Brooklyn Board of Elections office alongside Councilmember Charles Barron to submit their names to oversee the primary vote, June 16, 2022.
Poll workers wait to enter a Downtown Brooklyn Board of Elections office, June 16, 2022. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

For her, the change wouldn’t have affected her much, even if she hadn’t found out about it until going to vote, because she has a flexible schedule. But she is concerned for people who don’t know about the switch and who don’t have as much time.

“I work from home and I’m self-employed. So I can take that extra half hour or whatever to go from one polling place to another,” she said. “If someone has a job where they have to go into the office, or they’re voting late, they might miss their opportunity to vote” if they go to their previous polling site only to find out that they’re at the wrong place.

Anne is not the only voter who will be moved to a new polling spot next month.

In Midwood, Brooklyn, early voting and Primary Day voting locations have both changed since June. Some voters who cast ballots early at Edward R. Murrow High School or at the East Midwood Jewish Center on June 28 will have to vote in August at Brooklyn College: at its West Quad Center for early voting, or Roosevelt Hall on Primary Day.

In Upper Manhattan, some voters’ early voting site changed from the Washington Heights Armory to a school building at 202 Sherman Ave.

Jarret Berg, executive director of the nonprofit VoteEarlyNY, encouraged all New York voters to check their voting location before heading to the polls.

“Your early voting site in August may be different than where you voted in June, and may be different than your election-day site,” he said. “The best thing you can do is protect yourself by making sure. Don’t assume if you voted there for 20 years, you must be voting there this August.”

In the city, turnout in June was less than half of what it was during the previous gubernatorial primary, in 2018. Just 13% of registered Democratic voters cast a ballot, compared to 27% in 2018.

In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Terrell Jermaine Starr, a podcast host, was surprised to learn his election day polling site had moved from a local retirement home — where he voted on Primary Day in June — to an elementary school.

“I’m a political reporter and I follow more things than most … and if this threw me off, just imagine people who are irregular,” he said. “I can see this being a legit issue.”

All city voters can look up their primary polling site locations using the BOE’s address lookup tool here. It lists both your early voting and day-of sites, which may be different.

THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

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