Home / World News / A crush of early voters makes for long waits in N.Y.C.

A crush of early voters makes for long waits in N.Y.C.

Weather: A dreary day: Drizzle early, tapering to occasional showers. High near 60.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (All Saints’ Day).


Across New York City, you might have seen the lines this weekend. They sometimes stretched for several blocks: person after person, with a healthy gap in between, waiting to vote, sometimes for hours.

Starting on Saturday, New Yorkers took to the polls to vote early in a presidential election for the first time ever.

With the election coming amid a pandemic, some voters wanted to avoid the anticipated crush of people at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 3. Others were anxious about voting by mail and wanted to cast their ballot in person, especially after as many as 100,000 voters in Brooklyn received absentee ballots with the wrong names and addresses. Still others sought the convenience of voting on the weekend.

About 190,000 people inundated polling places to take advantage of early voting over the weekend, according to unofficial figures from the city’s Board of Elections.

[New Yorkers lined up for blocks to vote early on Saturday.]

Across the United States, more than 59 million ballots have already been cast in the 2020 election, surpassing the previous early turnout record set in 2016. Many elections administrators have urged people to vote before Election Day, as officials expect enormous levels of voter participation.

People in many states are waiting for hours to vote early. When most of Georgia opened for in-person voting on Columbus Day, voters in some Atlanta suburbs waited up to seven hours to cast a ballot.

Keep up with Election 2020

In New York City, elections officials have been scrambling to make sure they have enough poll workers. They have also been endeavoring to sanitize voting machines and keep voters socially distanced.

In the Bronx, Bryan Washington, 60, showed up early on Saturday to vote at the Andrew Freedman Home, where the line stretched down Grand Concourse and around the corner. Mr. Washington said the reward of casting his vote outweighed the risk of the coronavirus.

“I am one of the ones that truly believes this is one of the most important elections we ever had,” he said.

At Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Aronce Casseus, 47, waited for more than an hour on Sunday afternoon.

He said he wanted to vote early because he did not trust voting by mail, especially after some voters in the city were mailed incorrectly labeled absentee ballots.

“I want to make sure my vote counts,” he said, adding that he was voting for Joseph R. Biden Jr. because he thought President Trump had mishandled the response to the pandemic and was hostile to immigrants. Mr. Casseus noted that he had immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 2010.

At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, there was no line on Sunday afternoon. Neighbors Diane Stephen, 62, and George Robinson, 63, who typically vote on Election Day, said they were encouraged by the reports of high turnout and hoped it would continue.

“I hope that the people that were protesting with Black Lives Matter, at least half of them come out to vote,” Mr. Robinson said.

If you, too, would like to vote early, you can do so until Nov. 1.

Depending on the day, early voting sites will open as early as 7 a.m. and remain open as late as 8 p.m.

Elections officials have posted more details online, including the locations of dozens of voting sites around the city.


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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.


The number of homes in public housing where children under 6 are potentially exposed to lead poisoning could rise to 20,000 apartments. [The City]

Police officers in Red Hook removed a table where volunteers were distributing face masks and fliers outside a polling place. [Gothamist]

Over the last five days, 40 people have been shot citywide in what detectives believe is a surge in gang violence, the police said. [amNY]


The Times’s Stefanos Chen writes:

For the first time in nearly a decade, the median asking rent for an apartment in Manhattan has fallen below $3,000 a month, as vacancies soar and tenants reorder priorities amid the coronavirus.

The third quarter also marked the first time in which Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens all recorded year-over-year rent declines since 2010, according to a new report from the listing website StreetEasy. The median monthly rent fell to $2,990 in Manhattan, down 7.8 percent; $2,599 in Brooklyn, down 2.5 percent; and $2,200 in Queens, down 2.2 percent.

[Read more about the fall in rental prices across New York City.]

“This is the first of many milestones to come, in terms of Manhattan’s rental market being turned on its head,” Nancy Wu, a StreetEasy economist, said about the declines, noting that prices will likely continue to drop because of surging inventory and temporary, if not fundamental, changes to renter habits.

Of all the boroughs, Manhattan has the highest share of affluent, mobile renters, many of whom chose not to renew leases during the pandemic, Ms. Wu said, and the once reliable stream of newcomers, who paid a premium to be close to Midtown offices, has slowed.

It’s Monday — make a move.


Dear Diary:

Every Wednesday morning at the cafe on Mott Street, Bobby flirts with me. Wednesdays are the days he drives into Manhattan from Brooklyn.

He was a gangster, or something shady. He won’t tell me what exactly, except that he worked in construction engineering. I know more than he realizes about the job. My father has worked in the field for 25 years.

It used to bother and bewilder me that Bobby would flirt with me. I don’t come across as the type to flirt with, or so I would think, at least to someone like him.

But I’ve come to accept it, smile and drink my coffee. People, given time, grow on you. And my boss gets a thrill out of it.

— Olivia Funk


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