Mayor Bill de Blasio waited in line for several hours on Tuesday to cast his ballot in Park Slope during the city’s early voting period — saying extended wait times were “not acceptable,” and blasting the Board of Elections for their failure to move the crowds along.
“People are making very clear how much they want to vote, and they’re waiting hours and hours. That’s not acceptable,” Hizzoner said during an appearance on NY1 while he waited at the Park Slope Armory. “Every site, the hours should be expanded immediately, especially for this weekend. More staff, more machines — whatever it takes.”
De Blasio arrived at the YMCA voting location on Eighth Avenue between 14th and 15th streets at around 1:30 pm, inching along with the socially-distant line of civic minded Brooklynites until he finally reached the polling station just after 5:00 pm.
While waiting, the mayor took phone calls, chatted with constituents, dealt with the occasional heckler — and passed out slices from Smiling Pizzeria on Ninth Street to his fellow exasperated voters.
With just 88 early polling sites open in the city to accommodate five million registered, thousands of New Yorkers looking to cast their ballots have seen similarly long wait times since early voting began on Saturday.
In response to complaints from politicians and citizens alike, the often-criticized Board of Elections announced that it would expand voting hours over the weekend to accommodate the high demand — but the mayor told reporters that’s not nearly enough, as the polling locations lacked necessary resources like staff and voting machines.
“There’s not enough sites, there’s not enough machines, there’s not enough staff, there’s not enough hours,” he said. “It’s so far off from what was needed.”
Instead of simply expanding hours, de Blasio stressed that the board should improve the voting experience for New Yorkers amid record turnout — which saw 101,283 Brooklynites cast ballots through the first three days of early voting.
“Right now, while people are going through all this, they can do things right now to help people,” he said. “Longer hours, go into the evenings when people really have the time to vote in a lot of cases, let the personnel in. This is crazy! Look at all these good people, patient people, waiting all this time just to be a part of our democracy. It shouldn’t be that way.”
New Yorkers will have the chance to vote early each day until Nov. 1, as well as on the Nov. 3 election day. Learn more about early voting here.