The lashing rainy remnants of Hurricane Zeta and 40-degree weather didn't deter voters from lining up outside polling sites on Friday, New York City's seventh day of early voting.
Outside of West Side High School, on West 102nd Street on the Upper West Side, hundreds of people stood on a blocks-long, socially-distanced line. A poll worker said people started lining up at 6 a.m., well ahead of the 7 a.m. opening. The NYC Board of Elections decided to expand voting hours—from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 7 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Sunday—to meet the unprecedented turnout.
The rain on Thursday didn't keep voters away , either — over 100,000 early voters showed up yesterday, and some were even blessed with cookies from Paul Rudd:
With over 700,000 votes cast so far, that's over 13% of registered NYC voters—and this does not count the absentee ballots.
The enthusiasm prompted another change, as well: a site on the Upper East Side will be added on Saturday and Sunday to help alleviate the lines at Robert Wagner Middle School, which has the most early voters—118,753—assigned to it out of all 88 early voting locations.
However, as State Senator Michael Gianaris said to Gothamist, "One additional site is all well and good, the problem is much bigger than that." He and State Senator Zellnor Myrie are proposing legislation using a metric of one early voting site per 25,000 voters; if that were in effect for this early voting period, there would be 120 more locations, for a total of 208.
West Side High School has the second most early voters assigned to it, at 112, 1795. Jon Hill and Belinda Kan had tried to vote there earlier in the week. "We keep coming by and they tell us every time we come by, they say the wait time is about four hours," Hill said. "We thought coming Friday with bad weather and early morning, we would beat the line, but that wasn’t the case," Kan added, laughing. "And whatever people are saying about NYC being a ghost town it’s not true cause everybody is here voting."
Tim Trompeter was ready to wait in the chilly elements, after his kids had hours-long waits earlier this week — "I have my full winter gear on, and I’m happy, happy camper. I have a giant umbrella. I'm ready."
Some notes on voting:
- If you are a senior citizen, you can skip the line or go to a line for seniors—find a poll worker who can direct you. Many poll workers are assisting senior citizens, people with disabilities, pregnant women, or people with small children.
- If you want to vote by absentee ballot, you can go to a Board of Elections office through November 2nd to request a form.
- You can also drop off your absentee ballot at any early voting site or Board of Elections office. If you drop off your ballot in person at an early voting site or BOE office, you do not need postage; if you go to an early voting site, find a poll worker at the site to inquire about the absentee ballot drop-off (there may be a line).
- Finally, Election Day is November 3rd; find your Election Day polling site here (very likely different from your early voting site!). Polls open on November 3rd at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
Tell us about your voting experience—email us at email@example.com.