LONG ISLAND CITY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris called on the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) on May 3 to create more poll sites for voters in Queens. The borough, with the second highest population in the state and largest geographic area in the city, will have only seven sites according to a new plan issued by the board.
“Seven polling sites for more than two million people is an affront to democracy. The Board of Elections plan deserves a recount,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “We passed this law to make it easier for millions of New Yorkers to vote. The Board of Elections needs to step up so more New Yorkers will vote.”
Earlier this year Senator Gianaris and his colleagues passed a law providing for nine days of early voting across the state and mandating a minimum number of early voting poll sites per county, while establishing a standard of at least one poll site per 50,000 voters.
“The Board of Elections (BOE) is doing the bare minimum to implement early voting, especially in Queens where there are more voters assigned to each polling site than any other borough. This is not only inexcusable, but likely a violation of state law. We need between 50-100 voting centers across the city to serve New Yorkers in non-traditional locations, close to transportation, borough-wide, and including city and state facilities. Both the city and state have devoted millions of dollars to make early voting a success, it’s time for the BOE to step up,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York.
Senator Gianaris’ full letter to the Board can be found below.
May 3, 2019
32 – 42 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, New York 10004
Dear Mr. Ryan,
I write upon learning the early voting sites selected for the borough of Queens. The Board of Elections initial submission reveals too few sites in the and the few sites chosen are not even convenient for many residents.
Earlier this year, my colleagues and I passed New York’s first ever early voting law. As you know, the enacted law envisions one poll site for every 50,000 voters while establishing a minimum of 7 poll sites per county. Unfortunately the New York City Board of Elections submitted the minimum necessary for legal compliance, in the process setting the stage for failure of the early voting process by only having one site for every 337,000 Queens residents.
Early voting should enable the most people possible to cast ballots prior to Election Day and that requires more sites, in more neighborhoods that are easily accessible to public transportation.
I urge you to amend your plan and open more early voting poll sites throughout the borough of Queens-the second most populous county in the state, and the largest by land area in New York City.
I stand ready to work with you to identify additional and more suitable locations and look forward to voting early this November along with my neighbors.
Senator Michael Gianaris
Deputy Majority Leader