For State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park), chair of the Senate’s Election Committee, passing a measure allowing for early voting was a no brainer and a relatively easy legislative lift.
“[New York] has been at the bottom of voter participation in this country. The goal of early voting was to bring New York to first,” said Sen. Myrie, who introduced the early voting bill.
Myrie, along with State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) Executive Director Michael Ryan toured a Brooklyn Voting Machine Facility, 5112 2nd Avenue in Sunset Park this morning to help promote early voting, which begins this Saturday.
“The whole point of early voting is to maketo help promote our democracy easy, accessible and convenient if you have an obligation on Election Day. If you have a business that you have to close and run during the election, vote early. If you have a family that you need to take care of on election day, no problem, vote early,” said Myrie.
The BOE is prepared for a large turnout, and the electeds are excitedly sharing the opportunity with their constituents. The rollout will see 61 designated locations across the city open for early voting nine days before Election Day on Nov. 5, meaning voters will have not only one but ten days to get to the polls.
Early voting was part of a package of election reforms passed by the State Senate in January after the new Democratic majority took office.
The legislation was introduced in response to the shockingly low voter turnout in New York. The Empire State has been among the lowest across the country, and advocates continue to push for further reforms, including automatic voter registration and digital ballots.
Although paper ballots are still being used, one reform will ensure a quicker check-in process. Traditionally, Election Day mailers are sent to direct voters to their site. There, an employee will search for your name in a large book before they can hand you your ballot. This system has been replaced by a simple QR code on the mailer, which voters can scan on an iPad to receive their paper ballot.
High-tech record-keeping isn’t the only reform aimed at increasing voter turnout. The State Senate passed a bill allowing voter pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds and passed legislation enabling three hours of paid time off to vote.
Early voting will be held from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3. Here are the hours for each day, according to the city Board of Elections:
Saturday, Oct. 26: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 27: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 28: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 29: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 30: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 1: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It’s important to note that your early voting location may be different than your Election Day location. Consult with the board or your local elected official to ensure your vote is counted.
To find out locations for early voting and other info Click Here.