TIME TO DECIDE: Massive lines all over NYC on first day of early voting

Madison Square Garden
Voters line up to cast ballots outside Madison Square Garden which is used as a polling station, on the first day of early voting in Manhattan, New York, U.S. October 24, 2020.
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

For the first time in its history, New York are casting votes in a presidential election before November as early voting got underway Saturday, Oct. 24.

The city Board of Elections has established 88 early voting sites across the five boroughs where voters will be able to cast ballots over a nine-day period prior to Election Day, Nov. 3. It’s one of the many options available to New Yorkers to vote more easily, and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the top of the ballot, of course, is the 2020 presidential election between the Republican incumbent presidential/vice presidential ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence against their Democratic challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris.

There are plenty of other races across the city for Congress, Assembly and state Senate, including the heated 11th Congressional District race between incumbent Democratic Congressman Max Rose and his challenger, Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, for the seat covering southwestern Brooklyn and Staten Island. Click to learn more about other races in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Early voting began at 10 a.m. this Saturday. According to social media accounts, there were hundreds on line at numerous sites once the doors opened.

Each polling site will be open daily through Sunday, Nov. 1, at the hours listed below:

  • Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 26, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, from noon to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28, from noon to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 30, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Much like regular polling sites, your early voting location is based on where you live. You can learn where to cast an early vote by using the “Find My Poll Site” tool on the Board of Elections website, vote.nyc. Plug in your home address and ZIP code on the Find My Poll Site application and you’ll be able to view your designated early voting site and the regular polling place open on Election Day.

If you’re participating in early voting, you’ll be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing while on line. Each polling site will follow protocols for safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic — with poll workers wearing masks, hand sanitizer available and voting booths wiped down with disinfectant after use. 

Contact-free check-in will also be available. The Board of Elections recently mailed out Fast Pass Tags, which include a card and a key fob with codes containing your voting information. Scan the tag at the early voting site, and you’ll be directed to the proper table where you can receive your ballot to vote.

Each early voting site has a drop-off box for those who wish to return absentee ballots. According to Valerie Vasquez-Diaz of the New York City Board of Elections, more than a million absentee ballots have been requested this election due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the most in its history.

The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27; all ballots must be dropped off by Election Day, Nov. 3, or postmarked by Nov. 3 if mailed. Visit nycabsentee.com to request a ballot if you haven’t already done so.

If you choose to follow tradition and cast your ballot on Election Day, you can visit your local polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. As previously noted, use the “Find My Poll Site” tool to search your address and ZIP code to determine your Election Day polling place. 

The votes cast through early voting and on Election Day will be reported in the preliminary tally that the Board of Elections will announce on Election Night, Nov. 3. It may take up to two weeks, however, to count the absentee ballots before the final vote tally is determined. 

Schneps Media and the AARP recently held a webinar themed “How to Vote Safely,” which addresses all the concerns and questions you may have about voting. You can view the webinar below if you missed it.

For any questions about early voting, call 866-VOTE-NYC or visit vote.nyc.