NEW Yorkers flocked to polling sites on the first day of early voting on Saturday as more than 50 million Americans have already cast ballots, putting the US on pace for the highest turnout in more than a century.
Voting lines extended for blocks at New York City polling sites including Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Andrew Freedman House in the Bronx, and the Armory in Washington Heights, The New York Times reported.Early voting in New York began on October 24Credit: Getty Images - Getty Early voting began in New York as 50 million Americans have already cast ballotsCredit: AP:Associated Press
The line at Barclays Center astounded Democrat Laurie Cumbo, the majority leader of the New York City Council.
"I’m feeling the fire. Shout out to all the people who came out early this morning,” Cumbo told The Times.
A small-scale rally formed outside the Brooklyn Museum and Democratic State Senator Zellnor Myrie cheered voters on for carrying out their civic duty.
“The reports of democracy’s demise are greatly exaggerated,” said Myrie, according to the newspaper.Voting lines at dozens of New York polling places stretched for blocksCredit: AP:Associated Press Early voting in New York will conclude on Nov. 1Credit: Getty Images - Getty
Along with long lines, some poll workers dealt with some machine malfunctions, problems which New York election attorney Sarah Steiner deemed normal for the very start of early voting.
Images circulating social media of New Yorkers flooding poling sites indicate turnout was better than expected on the first day, Steiner said.
“This is an event for a lot of people, and it is a wonderful sign of civic engagement. I’m happy to see it,” she said.
Considering more than 50 million Americans have already voted with 11 days remaining before Election Day, US Elections Project administrator Michael McDonald predicts a record turnout of 150 million, Reuters reported on Friday.Many New Yorkers wore face masks in lines to voteCredit: Getty Images - Getty
That represents 65 percent of eligible American voters, which would be the highest figure since 1908.
New York is among the many states that have expanded in-person early voting operations as well as mail-in ballots.
The New York State Legislature approved early voting last year, making this the first presidential election that New Yorkers can cast ballots before Election Day.Many Democrats in New York have expressed support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden Credit: AP:Associated Press New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed concern that Trump supporters could interfere with voting in immigrant and poor communitiesCredit: Reuters
Early voting in the Empire State runs through Nov. 1 and is estimated to lead to a record turnout, with 3.3 million of 4.7 million active voters in the city, or 70 percent, expected to participate in person or by mail.
Some New Yorkers said they lined up early out of fears that mail-in ballots would not be counted, and others said they did not want to put off voting until Election Day.
Many early voters lined up wearing face masks and some had difficulty maintaining six feet of distance in narrow parts of streets.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday promised “a strong voter protection effort” and expressed concern around Trump supporters possibly interfering with voting in immigrant and poor communities.
“We cannot have this,” de Blasio said on MSNBC.
“You cannot let this election be stolen by intimidation.”