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Brooklyn Shows Up for Early Voting!

Brooklyn led the five boroughs in early voter turnout this past weekend, which saw almost 200,000 New Yorkers head to the polls.
Voters line up outside Brooklyn Museum. Photo: Jackson Ibelle for BK Reader.

Brooklyn did not show up to play during the first weekend of early voting for this year's presidential election.

More than 61,310 Brooklyn voters, the most of any borough, joined queues at polling sites across the borough on Saturday and Sunday, creating lines that stretched downs blocks and oftentimes had voters waiting hours to cast their ballots.

All in all, 193,915 New York City residents voted over the first weekend of early voting, exceeding turnout expectation in what is expected to be a high turnout election.

It is the first presidential election where voters have the opportunity to vote early in-person or vote by absentee ballot, easing the load on polling sites on Election Day, Nov. 3.

However, issues with the timeliness of absentee ballots in the June primaries, drama with the postal service and the recent mislabelling of absentee ballot envelopes has led many voters to opt for in-person voting.

The weekend's large voter turnout and subsequent long wait-times to vote has led to increased criticism of New York City's troubled Board of Elections.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Board of Elections had to "step up" and create new early voting sites, increase the number of voting machines and expand voting hours so the next 7 days of early voting would be a smoother process for New York City voters.

"The [BOE] was clearly not prepared for this kind of turnout and needs to make adjustments immediately," de Blasio said. "If the board of elections says it doesn't have the money, we will provide it. To the [BOE], your moment has come, let's get this done now."

Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who waited in line to vote, said there was no place in America where two, three or four-hour waits to vote were acceptable. "And just because it's happening in a blue state, doesn't mean it's not voter suppression. If this was happening in a swing state, there would be national coverage," she said.

New York City's early voting period runs for the next 7 days, until Sunday, Nov. 1. Voters are assigned a polling site where they must cast their ballots, which is different to their Election Day site.

To find your polling site for early voting and Election Day, click here.