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Look out for these complications when casting your vote today in New York

Here's what you should know about voting issues happening in NYC.
Written by
Collier Sutter

It’s voting day, New York. The polls are now open, and will remain so until 9pm tonight, for New Yorkers to choose their candidates for Congress, City Council, and in Queens, the next borough president.

If you are voting via absentee ballot due to the coronavirus crisis, today is also the last date you can postmark it or deliver it in person to your borough's BOE office because they must be received by city BOE by June 30. If you requested an absentee ballot but didn't receive it, you are still eligible to vote in person at polling sites.

For those heading out to vote today, be sure to look up your designated polling site as it may have changed for the June 23, 2020 Primary Election. You can find the list of polling places here.

Worried about not being able to stay safe amid the pandemic? At voting sites, you'll find floor markers to help with social distancing, free masks, and disinfectants. Voting machines are supposed to be wiped down in between uses, and voters will get free ballot-marking pens they can keep (instead of reusing the same one thousands of other New Yorkers touch).

Know your rights.

If for some reason you’re not listed at the correct polling site for your address (which is not uncommon as we've learned from past elections), you have the right to ask for an affidavit ballot

In New York, voters usually do not have to present identification at the polls to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. But, to be safe don’t leave home without an acceptable form of ID and a paycheck or utility bill (with your address and name on it). 

So far this morning, New Yorkers at multiple polling sites across the city were experiencing complications casting their ballots. Some took to social media to share their complaints.

Dozens of voters are reporting receiving only one ballot (when there should be two), whether it be for presidential primary or local state primary — but not both.

One Bed-Stuy resident, Leanne Gan, headed to her poll site at Bed-Stuy’s YMCA this morning and was only handed the presidential affidavit ballot.

"I had to ask twice and insist that there was a second ballot I needed to fill out for the State and assembly positions," says Gan. "After they looked through a box and talking to other poll workers they found the box of affidavit state ballots, unwrapped them, and handed them to me. There was definitely a lot of confusion about the existence of the state ballot which concerned me. How many other voters didn’t know about the second ballot and just took what was handed to them at the polling site?"

"I don’t blame the polling site, I think poll workers try to do the best they can with the resources given to them," she says. "The Board of Elections needs to get organized and properly communicate what needs to be done to poll workers so that they can relay the information to us."

Gan’s roommate, Noah Lumbantobing, also headed out to vote at a polling site in Bed-Stuy this morning, and was only given a presidential ballot, explains Gan.

"He asked where the state ballot was, and they said they’d been trying to call the BOE but were not able to get through. He called the voter suppression hotline, who said they would report it to their chief and get back to us, and the BOE. I posted about this on Instagram and tagged candidate for New York State Assembly Phara Souffrant Forrest’s social media handles. Pharra’s team reached out to me over the phone and said that some of the polling sites were getting their state ballots dropped off late and to try voting around 11am."

Gan added that both her and her housemate did not receive their absentee ballots even though they were registered on time.

Paperboy Prince, who is a candidate running for election to the U.S. House to represent New York's 7th Congressional District, didn’t find their own name listed on the ballot this morning when they went out to vote in Queens. "I'm on the ballot, that’s what was wrong with the ballot, it immediately stuck out to me," they wrote in a post on Twitter.

Paperboy Prince said in their post that this was in a majority black and Latino neighborhood: "I had to make a fuss to vote for local office."

In East New York, Katie Cercone went to her poll location to vote and also noticed Paperboy Prince wasn’t on her ballot when they were supposed to be.

What should you do if this happens?

You have the right to view a sample ballot in your polling place prior to entering or approaching the privacy booth, scanner or ballot marking device to cast your vote. Double check that you have two respective ballots to vote for local, congressional and presidential candidates. You are also allowed to request help in how to make and or cast your ballot.

If you realized you only filled out one ballot page, you can still go back and request to finish your voting. You can also flag it to the Election Protection Commission here.  

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