By Robert Pozarycki
Not long after the polls opened on the final day of the early voting period Sunday morning, New York City crossed an important threshold — the millionth vote cast in this election.
“NYC we hit ONE MILLION voters who voted early!,” the New York City Board of Elections exclaimed in a tweet published at 8:48 a.m. on Nov. 1. The polls had opened citywide at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, and will remain open until 4 p.m.
The very first New York City early voting period last fall drew less than 60,000 voters citywide in an off-year election with no major races at stake. But things changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as New Yorkers were urged to either cast absentee ballots or vote early less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 general election at 88 designated early voting sites in the five boroughs.
The pandemic, as well as the high stakes presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, resulted in a massive surge in early voters almost as soon as the early voting period began on Oct. 24. That first day saw nearly double the number of early voters than through the entire 2019 early voting period.
Even amid often chilly, rainy conditions last week, the voters kept coming. Long lines were reported in many places; even Mayor Bill de Blasio found himself waiting 3 hours to cast his early vote at the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn on Oct. 27. As the week went on, however, there were reports of lesser wait times at many locations.
Through Oct. 31, the city Board of Elections reported 977,763 voter check-ins, with Brooklyn having the most at 326,141, or one-third of the entire vote count up to that point. Queens, which had been third in early voting almost the entire week, pulled into second on Saturday with 214,989 ballots cast, followed by Manhattan with 212,299, the Bronx with 133,040 and Staten Island with 91,294.
No early voting will be offered on Monday, Nov. 2. The last chance to vote, of course, is Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. More than 14,000 polling places across the five boroughs will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information on voting, or to find your polling place, visit vote.nyc.