The early voter gets some peace of mind.
That is the goal of the city’s Board of Elections as it takes on New York’s first-ever early voting process. Starting Oct. 26 and continuing to Nov. 3, registered city voters can head to designated polling stations to cast their votes in the general election.
Michael Ryan, the executive director of the BOE, said his office has been preparing for this ever since the State Legislature voted to incorporate the voting method earlier this year, and he is confident in the procedure it came up with.
“We expect that voters will have no problem using this,” he said.
To participate in early voting, voters must first find which of the 61 polling stations they’ve been assigned to. Mailers have been sent out with laminated info cards with their early polling sites, and New Yorkers can find their sites online at https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search.
The locations will be open during the morning and afternoon hours most days. Ryan said that the process has been streamlined for early voting, thanks to an on-demand ballot printing system and an electronic voter database system.
“We’re going to have full-time board employees at each early voting site,” Ryan said. “We’re adding extra elements of technology, and we want our staff there who can reach out immediately.”
A voter who brings the ID card that was mailed to them can submit it to a poll worker who will print out a ballot specific to their district. If a voter doesn’t have the card, their name will be entered into an iPad to search for them in the voter roll, Ryan said, and then their ballot will be printed out.
Once a voter signs the iPad with a stylus pen and their signature matches the one on record, they can take their ballots, fill them out and put them in the scanners.
These streamlined features will not be available to voters who head to their poll sites on Election Day (Nov. 5), according to Ryan.
He predicts that enough New Yorkers will make use of early voting that long lines at the polls on Election Day will be greatly alleviated. The BOE will be observing and documenting the early voting process and will use that research to improve future elections.