In-person voting is becoming a serious threat in Bushwick and Ridgewood. According to the NYC Department of Health 46.34% to 65.41% of patients tested in Bushwick and Ridgewood have tested positive for COVID-19. The New York Democratic primary has been moved to June 23rd 2020, giving the state almost three months to prepare for an entirely vote-by-mail primary if needed. States like Hawaii and Wyoming have moved to vote entirely by mail for the upcoming primary. The primary on April 7th in Wisconsin demonstrated that holding in-person elections during a pandemic is no simple feat, especially in Milwaukee where voters had multiple complaints.
Polling locations in Milwaukee were reduced from 180 locations to five locations across the city. This was a result of a substantial number of poll workers refusing to work in fear of the virus as Milwaukee county reported almost 500 cases of COVID-19 by March 30th. The reduction in poll locations led to other issues such as long wait times and voters being turned away from polls. The biggest concern was that an in-person election would cause an increase in virus cases.
Reduced polling locations could be a huge setback for in-person voting in Bushwick and Ridgewood as well, as both areas have reported a total of over 2,700 residents testing positive. These numbers are expected to change by June 23rd however if social distancing measures are still required at that time, poll workers in Bushwick and Ridgewood may also opt out of working. As a result, poll locations will likely also be reduced in these areas causing the same troubles experienced in Milwaukee.
There has been no decision as of yet if New York will attempt to move to an entirely vote-by-mail system however, Governor Cuomo announced that all residents will be allowed to cast absentee ballots on June 23rd.
Here’s what you need to know about voting by mail to get a head start.
Download an application at vote.nyc (applications are also available at a Board of Elections Office or by phone: 1-866-VOTE-NYC).
Fill out the application in blue or black ink and drop off/mail to your local BOE office (if sent by mail they must be postmarked no later than the seventh day before the election, if in-person they can be handed in no later than one day before the election).
Once you have received your absentee ballot, fill in your votes.
Submit a completed ballot by mail in a small envelope that is signed, dated and sealed.
Place that small envelope into a larger envelope that is addressed to your local BOE office (mail ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election).
Cover photo courtesy of Elliott Stallion