New York City residents seeking to vote early encountered long lines at the polls for the third consecutive day on Monday, reigniting longstanding criticisms of the government agency that runs elections in the city, the Board of Elections.
In Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and elsewhere, voters reported having to stand for hours in rainy conditions. That was similar to the waits reported over the weekend, when more than 190,000 turned out at the start of the first presidential election with early voting in the state.
Officials decried the lines, with some saying that they amounted to voter suppression.
“There is no place in the United States of America where two-, three-, four-hour waits to vote is acceptable,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat. “If this was happening in a swing state, there would be national coverage. So I don’t want us to think that just because this is a blue state, this isn’t a problem. This is very clearly a problem.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, also both Democrats, echoed the concerns. Mr. Cuomo said the Board of Elections was doing a “terrible job” with early voting and added that he was open to redesigning the board; Mr. de Blasio said he would happily join that effort.
Both politicians have long criticized the board, but they and other officials have never seriously pushed to reform the system.
New York is the only state in the country with local election boards whose staffers are chosen almost entirely by Democratic and Republican Party bosses, even the computer programmers — a structure enshrined in the state Constitution and meant to ensure fairness.
Under the rules, almost every job must be duplicated, with a Republican and Democrat each performing the same function.
In New York City, the elections board has been plagued by decades of dysfunction because staffers get their jobs through political connections, not credentials, and many are unqualified.
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