New Yorkers looking to vote early faced long lines at the polls for the third day in a row on Monday, rekindling long-standing criticism from the government agency that organizes the city’s elections, the Board. of Elections.
In Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and somewhere else, voters said they had to stand for hours in the rain. It was similar to expectations reported over the weekend, when more than 190,000 people turned out for the start of the state’s first early voting presidential election.
Officials denounced the lines, with some saying they amounted to voter suppression.
“There is no place in the United States of America where a two, three, four hour wait to vote is acceptable,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat. “If it happened in a state of transition, there would be national coverage. So I don’t want us to think it’s not a problem just because it’s a blue state. It is very clearly a problem. “
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, also both Democrats, echoed the concerns. Mr. Cuomo said the Elections Office was doing a “terrible job” with early voting and added that it was open to the Council overhaul; M. de Blasio said he would gladly join in this effort.
Both politicians have long been critical of the board, but they and other officials have never seriously pushed for reform of the system.
New York is the only state in the country to have local election commissions whose staff are almost entirely chosen by Democratic and Republican Party leaders, even computer programmers – a structure enshrined in the state’s Constitution and intended to ensure the ‘equity.
By the rules, almost all jobs must be duplicated, with a Republican and Democrat each performing the same function.
In New York, the Election Board has been plagued by decades of dysfunction because staff members get their jobs through political connections, not credentials, and many are unqualified.