Mayor de Blasio Applauds and Encourages Early Voting, Asks for More Polling Machines
By Yehudit Garmaise
“We really saw people own their democracy this weekend in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was thrilled to see that almost 200,000 New Yorkers participated in early voting on Shabbos and Sunday.
“We saw the people come out in numbers we have never seen before to express their views and determine their futures,” said the mayor, who added that the voter turnout was “unbelievable” and that “we have literally seen nothing like it before.”
“This is something all New Yorkers should be proud of: New Yorkers care so deeply, and early voting has just begun, and we already see that many people engaged.”
Although Mayor de Blasio called New Yorkers’ enthusiasm for early voting “something beautiful,” he also pointed out that the Board of Elections “was clearly not prepared for this kind of turnout and needs to make adjustments immediately to be able to support all the New Yorkers who want to take part in the democratic process.
“We need [voting] to be a better experience,” the mayor said.
Although long lines are perhaps not, as they were nefariously characterized by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “a form of voter suppression,” Mayor de Blasio did worry that long lines could discourage voting.
“Long lines tell people to go home,” said the mayor, who suggested that the NYC Board of Elections bring out its extra voting machines that are on hold for the crowds expected on Election Day, which is Nov 3. “We cannot at this crucial moment, see people discouraged.”
Mayor de Blasio, who said that he and his wife Chirlane McCray would be voting tomorrow, said that he was calling on the Board of Elections increase voting machines, ensure the staff is available at early voting sites to help people vote quickly and efficiently, help them to move on with their day, and not be discouraged from voting. The Board of Elections needs to step up.”
Mayor de Blasio added that the Board of Elections would be given whatever resources it needed to provide more polling machines. The mayor also asked that early voting hours, which this past weekend were 10am to 4pm, should be expanded for this coming weekend.
"There is nothing more sacred than our democratic process, particularly at this moment in history,” the mayor said. "We will make sure the board has what it needs. They cannot claim they won’t have the resources. This is about doing the right thing and making voting easier for all New Yorkers.
"To the Board of Elections, your moment has come, let’s get it right, right now."
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
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