Suffolk County Voters to BOE: "Fairer Early Voting Sites Now"
Only ten early voting poll sites for 1 million voters in Suffolk
NEW YORK, NY (08/29/2019) (readMedia)-- With fewer than two months until New Yorkers first-ever chance to vote early, elected officials, members of Let NY Vote, and local advocates, joined together to demand the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE) make early voting poll sites accessible for all voters and encourage them to create voting centers, where all Suffolk County voters can cast their ballots.
Watch the press conference here.
Currently, there are only ten early voting poll sites in Suffolk County for close to one million active voters. For example, Sayville voters will have to vote in Islip. Many of the sites are far away from town centers where there are more communities of color and lower income voters. Suffolk's allocation of one polling place per Township skews the availability of early voting to the smaller population Townships. In Nassau County, voters are allowed to vote at any early voting poll center in the county.
"Early voting in New York will be a game changer for millions of New Yorkers, but only if it's set up correctly. Suffolk County needs more voting sites and centers in places that are easily accessible for voters -- not just those that have access to a car. The clock is ticking, Suffolk County BOE, time to get it right," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.
In January, the New York State legislature passed - and Governor Cuomo signed into law - early voting, which gives voters 9 days before Election Day to vote beginning October 26.
"Islip Town Democrats are dedicated to the concept that voting participation needs to be maximized to assure that the election results truly represent the people they represent. Early Voting has been a proven method of increasing voter turnout among all citizens in states that have instituted the policy. Thanks to the New State Senate Majority we now have Early Voting in NY! But it passed with inadequate funding. We call upon the Suffolk County Board of Elections increase the hours of each of the 10 Early Voting Days to a full 6am to 9pm day to match the Primary and General Election hours. We also call upon the BOE to extend the number of locations to match the State guidelines of one polling place per every 50,000 registered voters and to allow votes to be cast at any of the polling locations most convenient to the voters regardless of location," said Mark D West,Vice Chair of Islip Democratic Committee.
"The Bay Shore Babylon Women's Huddle urges the Suffolk County Board of Elections to implement the NYS Early Voting Law to benefit of all citizens living in our county. For example, to have only have one polling location in a town as large as Islip falls short of the law's intention to increase voter participation. To reach this goal, more polling sites must be added. It is also essential that some sites be located in low income and diverse areas of our county to improve access to early voting to citizens living there so that their much-needed voices can be heard," said Michele Boccia, member of the Bay Shore Huddle.