Hundreds of volunteers will be at city poll sites Tuesday to answer questions, offer assistance and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for voters. There will be at least two teams of election observers fanning out across the city today, along with language interpreters.

The highly-contested 2020 election may have a record turnout, if other states are any indication, and elected officials and good government groups are making sure New York City voters have resources they need to be able to cast ballots at the city's nearly 1,200 poll sites.

Susan Lerner, head of Common Cause New York, is teaming up with the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, the nation’s largest network of trained election observers. There will be more than 300 Election Protection volunteers in New York City, including several roving bike observers who will travel between poll sites to monitor for issues.

An election observer from the Election Protection corps in Harlem on November 3, 2020

Lerner said these volunteers are credentialed election observers with the New York City Board of Elections, so they will be able to assist voters inside and outside a poll site. The volunteers, who will be wearing T-shirts or face masks that read “Election Protection,” will also be able to connect voters with nonpartisan legal advice through their hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The hotline is staffed by lawyers trained in election law and supported by the nonprofit Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

A voter can call the hotline with any question, “As simple as how do I look up my polling place and registration to a complicated personal situation where you're concerned you need help to vote,” Lerner said.

The de Blasio administration also recruited more than 500 volunteers for the newly launched “Election Observer Corps.” The volunteers will be assigned to poll sites with the highest concentration of voters and will be looking out for possible instances of voter intimidation or harassment. If a volunteer observes an issue, they have been instructed to call a central number, a so-called “the Boiler Room”, where additional volunteers will monitor and triage reports, escalating issues to the appropriate officials including the Board of Elections or NYPD.

Julie Kim, who worked on the city's census outreach team, joined the effort to help her neighbors. “I think that's especially important in an area like Flushing, which is like a very immigrant-heavy neighborhood,” Kim tolg Gothamist/WNYC. “So as someone who speaks Korean and Mandarin, I wanted to be there and accessible and available to direct anyone to correct resources that day,” she added.

Language access resources will also be available at city poll sites. Under the Voting Rights Act, the Board of Elections must provide language interpretation in Spanish citywide, and, in Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Hindi, and Punjabi, in some parts of the city. “And because we live in a city that speaks 200 and more languages, we must go above and beyond this minimum. Our city's voters deserve that commitment,” said Sarah Sayeed, New York City Civic Engagement Commission chair and executive director.

The City’s Civic Engagement Commission will provide additional language services at 52 poll sites in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Urdu, and Yiddish. To find out if these language access services are available at your poll site, check If you'd like to find out whether the commission will be offering language services at your poll site, Any voter can also bring a friend or family member to assist them, as long as the person is not their employer or union representative.

This article has been updated to clarify that Election Protection is a nonpartisan coalition, not a bipartisan one.