State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and U.S Rep Yvette D. Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) in cooperation with local organizations, Elite Learners Inc and the Brownsville Justice Center, gathered on a cold, rainy afternoon outside of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Van Dyke Community Center, 392 Blake Avenue yesterday to encourage Brownsville residents to vote.
According to Myrie, early voting turnout in Brownsville is running approximately 30 percent lower than in other parts of his district. He said that in the 2018’s elections, Brownsville did have a higher voter turnout so there’s no reason to believe, even with this year’s pandemic and social justice crises, it won’t happen again in such a crucial election.
Myrie said people have lost jobs and opportunities because of COVID-19, so when they hear the message of voting that may not be their top priority, which is understandable.
“Brownsville get out and vote, please. We now have early voting in the state of New York,” said Myrie. “Everything is on the ballot. The resources for Van Dyke community center is on the ballot. The resources for our small businesses on Pitkin and Rockaway is on the ballot. Money to help prevent gun violence in our community that is on the ballot. Police reform is on the ballot.”
Myrie also said, “If voters have not put an absentee ballot inside of a mailbox already, don’t do it. Drop it off at your early voting site. Put it in a ballot box and you can skip the line.” He reminded voters to be patient and keep in mind that the official count will not come in until after November 3. “Remember that we can’t open absentee ballots until seven days after the election. People have to be patient,” said Myrie.
Myrie noted there aren’t any long lines at the polling site in Brownsville.
Duane Knight, an inspector at the Van Dyke Community Center polling site, said that there aren’t lines at that location because they are efficient. Knight said by the scanner count, not including absentee drop off, the site has had on average 900 to over 1000 ballots a day since opening on Saturday. Knight said that people usually come in to vote in the mornings and not the evenings.
Van Dyke Houses Tenant Association President Lisa Kenner, who’s lived there for 61 years, said if nothing else vote for the Black community that didn’t have that right until 1965.
“This morning I was thinking about voting and I heard my mother’s voice, you know when your mother used to take you to the poll site,” said Kenner laughing, “If we don’t vote for ourselves, do it for our ancestors.”
“It has been exhilarating to see so many people taking advantage of early voting. I am so proud of Brooklyn for leading the way this election with remarkable voter turnout,” said Assembly Member Latrice M. Walker (D-Brownsville). “Every member who is able to vote should exercise their right to vote. It is our duty to make sure we have people in government who represent our interests. Let’s make this last weekend of early voting an even greater success. As I always say vote early, and often.”
Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights) urged her community to step up and make their voices heard.
“Let’s bring this vote home for our community, for our families, for health care, for education, for housing that needs to be renovated and developed in a way in which we can continue to live in our community, and that’s what’s on the ballot today,” said Clarke.