Early voting key to fixing Election Day problems, lawmakers say

Issues with scanners were common at poll sites across the city Tuesday. 
Issues with scanners were common at poll sites across the city Tuesday.  Photo Credit: Flushing Town Hall

Early voting in New York City could have prevented the Election Day fiasco that left people waiting for hours to cast their ballots, according to lawmakers and experts.

Broken scanners and other problems were common in all parts of the city.

“It was a perfect storm — there was a volume of voters you don’t usually see in the midterms, damp ballots and a new two-sheet form,” said Erika Lorshbough, a voting rights specialist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, who monitored poll complaints. “This really calls for the kind of election reform we have been pushing for.”

City Councilman Brad Lander, whose Brooklyn district experienced some of the worst problems with broken scanners and long lines, said early voting is something that can be enacted relatively quickly rather than waiting for reform of the antiquated city Board of Elections.

“We can have early voting with the dysfunctional Board of Elections we have,” Lander said. “If we had been allow to vote by mail or at the Board of Elections weeks ago, fewer people would have needed to vote yesterday.”

Lander said there weren’t enough technicians to handle all the jammed and busted scanners.

“It was like playing whack-a-mole,” Lander said of the broken scanners popping as one was getting fixed.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a news conference at the local Board of Elections office and called for an investigation, early voting and better technology.

“Imagine if the paper gets stuck in the Xerox machine in an office and the entire office shuts down because they are waiting for a technician,” he said. “This is an embarrassment of the election process in the city.”