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Mayor de Blasio calls for more machines, expanded hours for NYC early voting as Cuomo calls for ‘redesign’

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/26/2020 Dave Goldiner, Shant Shahrigian, Denis Slattery
a person standing in front of a computer: Early voting in the presidential election continues at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City on Monday, October 26, 2020. © Gardiner Anderson Early voting in the presidential election continues at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City on Monday, October 26, 2020.

It took a weekend of hours-long lines for early voting to get Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and AOC to agree on something.

The trio of New York politicians all took turns Monday castigating the city Board of Elections as more than 193,000 New Yorkers endured mind-numbingly long lines to do their civic duty on Saturday and Sunday at jammed early voting sites across the city.

All three agree that the much-maligned system is in need of an overhaul, with de Blasio calling on the board to use more ballot machines and expand hours, even offering city funds for the effort.

“The Board of Elections was clearly not prepared for this kind of turnout and needs to make adjustments immediately,” Hizzoner said at a Monday press conference following the unprecedented surge in early voting. “Long lines tell people to go home.”

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26. © Provided by New York Daily News Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26.

Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26. (Gardiner Anderson/)

Saying there are voting machines “on hold” for Election Day on Nov. 3, the mayor called on the BOE to deploy them at the 88 sites that opened for early voting over the weekend.

He also said hours should be expanded from the current available voting time of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“If the Board of Elections says they don’t have the money … the city of New York will provide the resources,” de Blasio.

a group of people standing next to a fence: Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26. © Provided by New York Daily News Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26.

Voters line up to cast early ballots in the presidential election at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, October 26. (Gardiner Anderson/)

On Saturday and Sunday, 193,915 people in the city voted, according to BOE information cited by the mayor. Similarly, long lines were spotted across the five boroughs on Monday.

Calling the BOE “a vestige of a corruption past,” he said the board should be abolished and replaced with “either a city agency or a state agency.”

The city election board is run by Republican and Democratic appointees, an antiquated system that has long faced criticism amid allegations of nepotism, dysfunction and favoritism.

County parties in the boroughs are often accused of being too closely tied to the process, discouraging outsiders from running for office or getting involved in election efforts.

A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26. (Theodore Parisienne/)

He said he would “happily team-up” with Gov. Cuomo on legislation to create a new agency, though the two leaders have had a contentious relationship for years.

The governor said he too is open to an overhaul as he slammed the board for botching early voting despite an extra $9 million made available by the state.

“I think the board of elections in New York City did a terrible job, a terrible job," he said during a briefing in Albany. “And it’s not the first time and I think I will be open to an entire redesign of the New York City board of elections system.

“I’d be open to whatever the city proposes to redesign from the ground up the New York City board of elections, period,” he added, saying the board "blew it.”

a group of people walking in the rain holding an umbrella: A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26. © Provided by New York Daily News A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26.

A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26. (Theodore Parisienne/)

It’s only the second year that the Empire State has offered early voting sites in an effort to increase participation and make it easier for New Yorkers to cast a ballot.

The city board, which did not respond to requests for comment, has faced increasing criticism this year following a problem-filled primary back in June that saw results unavailable for weeks after voters embraced absentee ballot in unseen numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some voters who did show up in person during the primary reported receiving the wrong ballot at polling sites.

Recently, the board was again under fire for sending return envelopes with incorrect names and addresses to roughly 100,000 Brooklyn residents who requested absentee ballots, a flub blamed on an upstate vendor.

a group of people on a sidewalk: A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26. © Provided by New York Daily News A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26.

A long line of people waiting in the rain to cast their early vote could be seen on Tillary Street stretching from Flatbush Avenue to the entrance for the New York City College of Technology at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn on Monday, October 26. (Theodore Parisienne/)

After passing early voting last year, state lawmakers took several steps to expand and secure the use of absentee ballots amid the COVID-19 crisis this year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, said more needs to be done, accusing bungling voting officials of making it tough to cast ballots in the Big Apple.

“There is no place in the United States of America where two, three, four hour waits to vote is acceptable,” the Congresswoman said as she joined voters in the Parkchester section of the Bronx on Sunday. “And just because it’s happening in a blue state doesn’t mean that it’s not voter suppression.”

AOC again voiced her frustrations with the board on Monday, taking to Twitter to cast the issues seen across the city as “disenfranchisement.”

“It should be easy to vote. That’s not a controversial position to have,” she wrote. “And we should deeply care about disenfranchisement wherever it happens.”

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