Underwhelming turnout for early voting — but it's smooth going, so far 1

Signs outside Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park lead visitors to the early poling site.


Predictions of very low turnout for the New York City's first-ever early voting — which began last Saturday — have so far been right on target.

Only about 50 voters had come to the voting station set up inside in the New York Hall of Science's small library in Flushing Meadows Park as of noon Monday, a pollster coordinator said.

That's only a handful more than the 40 poll workers need to man the site.

At Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park, the vote count was about 150 by noon Monday.

The polling site on the sixth floor of the convention center above the casino is a hike to reach, but poll workers are stationed at elevator banks and in the halls to direct voters to the area were ballot machines were set up. 

One Board of Elections official said the casino will likely be the busiest of the 14 sites in Queens.

"People are already going to the casino. They figure they can vote at the same time," she said.

Early voting — the chance for voters to go to the polls up to nine days before the official election day — has been a feature in more than half the other states in the U.S. for years.

But this week is the first time it has been allowed in New York State.

The election itself is not a particularly contentious one. Two offices are up for grabs — Queens district attorney and, citywide, the public advocate — along with nine judgeships and five ballot proposals.

This week's launch is, in essence, a dry run for next April's Presidential primary election and the general election in November when turnout is expected to be heavy, if not historic.

If only a trickle of early voters were expected this time around, the absence of any technical difficulties in the complicated process has been a pleasant surprise, poll workers said.

A wave of new technology is being launched with this election experiment.

The BOE is rolling out a new generation of computer tablets to verify voter registration. Gone are the old paper print out listing every voter is a specific election district.

Also making its debut this week was a computerized system to print out ballots for each voter to replace the stacks of printed ballots that were shipped to every polling place.

"It's gone a lot better than expected," said a BOE technician who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "We had trouble with one machine and we got it fixed pretty quickly."

As well, polling sites are reporting more than half of voters so far have brought along the bar-coded ID card sent to all registered voters in the city last month.

The card can be instantly read by a scanner and verifies a voter's registration. 


(1) comment

postal guy

I live in Woodhaven and I am assigned to the Kew Gardens Court House for early voting. Why there instead of Resorts, which would be 100% more convenient, is beyond me.

If you really want to discourage people from early voting, this will do it.

It is one of the least accessible places in Queens.

Parking is non existent, traffic in the area is horrible and finding your way around inside the buildings themselves is about as confusing as it gets.

Whoever decided that early voting should be in places like this has a screw loose, imho.

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