• June 25, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

QUEENS VOTES 2019 Queens to have 14 early voting sites

BOE adds new locations after only originally planning seven for borough

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 1:07 pm, Thu Jun 13, 2019.

Good government advocates in New York for years had called on the state to open early voting locations. The sites reduce the length of lines on Election Day and make marking a ballot easier for those with tight schedules.

Gov. Cuomo in January signed a bill that requires each county to have at least one early voting poll site for the general election per 50,000 registered voters until it has seven of the sites. The law does not require more, even in a highly populated county like Queens — so, the city Board of Elections announced in May that the borough would only get seven.

Criticism came quickly. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), Mayor de Blasio and advocates for civic engagement separately called on the BOE to plan for more early voting sites. And last week, the board revealed it would double the borough’s locations to 14.

The full list of early voting sites in Queens is now:

• Al Oerter Recreation Center at 131-40 Fowler Ave. in Flushing;

• Cross Island YMCA at 238-10 Hillside Ave. in Bellerose;

• First Baptist Church of Corona at 100-10 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst;

• Holy Trinity Parish Church at 222-05 116 Ave. in Cambria Heights;

• Korean Community Services at 203-05 32 Ave. in Bayside;

• LaGuardia Community College at 31-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City;

• Museum of the Moving Image at 36-01 35 Ave. in Astoria;

• New York Hall of Science at 47-01 111 St. in Corona;

• Queens Voting Machine Facility Annex at 66-26 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village;

• Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens;

• Resorts World Casino at 111-00 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park;

• Rochdale Village Community Center at 169-65 137 Ave. in Jamaica;

• Rockaway YMCA at 207 Beach 73 St. in Arverne; and

• York College at 160-02 Liberty Ave. in Jamaica.

The early voting locations will be used first for the November general election, not the June primary. The BOE also provided more early voting sites in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Each site will be open for nine days from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3. Election Day is on Nov. 5. Residents will be assigned a specific early voting location based on their addresses, according to WNYC.

Gianaris lauded the board for adding the new sites, but said it must do more.

“I am glad more voters will have the chance to vote early now that additional poll sites have been added,” the western Queens senator said in a prepared statement. “While we need even more going forward, doubling the initial proposal is a step in the right direction.”

When only seven of the sites were planned, the nearest location for residents of northeast Queens neighborhoods like Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens and Whitestone was the Al Oerter Recreation Center by Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The situation led to a request to the BOE for more early voting locations in a letter from mid-May by Assembly members Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside); Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Tom Suozzi (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens); and Councilmen Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).

The representatives said they were pleased to find out that the BOE added the Korean Community Services center in Bayside and the Cross Island YMCA in Bellerose to the list.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York and founder of the Let NY Vote coalition, agreed that the new northeast Queens sites are “good news.” Still, the advocate is far from satisfied with the BOE’s overall job on rolling out early voting in the borough at large.

“The BOE has completely failed to deliver borough wide voting centers which would make voting easy and convenient for anyone eligible in Queens,” Lerner said in a prepared statement.

After the Chronicle reached out to the board to get a response to Lerner’s comment, the BOE acknowledged the inquiry but did not provide a statement.

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