The primary election is on Tuesday, but many who said they've requested absentee ballots under a temporary expansion allowing those fearing the coronavirus to cast their ballots at home, say those ballots have not arrived.
New York has some of the more restrictive absentee balloting in the country, typically allowing a voter to bypass going to the polls if they are going to be absent on election day, or are incarcerated, or have a sickness or disability (or are the primary caregiver of someone who is sick or disabled). The definition for "temporary illness" was expanded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this past spring to include those affected by the coronavirus, or who fear a potential exposure to the virus.
That has generated a record number of absentee ballot requests, with city election officials telling The Riverdale Press last week that demand is at least seven times greater than it's ever been before. A request for comment on getting ballots out is pending return, but the city's elections board posted a notice on its website over the weekend saying its "post office partners" are "working hard to deliver all ballots." The office also reminded voters that if they don't receive their ballot, they can still vote in-person.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz told his constituents Saturday that he's reached out to the U.S. Postal Service, and was told there is no backlog — suggesting the problem with getting ballots out is not on their end.
"There will be time to figure out what went wrong after Tuesday, but the most important thing right now is to make sure eligible voters who wish to cast a ballot have created a specific plan to vote in the June 23 Democratic primary election," Dinowitz said in his release. "Every single person who is eligible to vote in the elections on June 23 deserves to have their vote counted, whether they voted early or absentee, or at their local poll site. If people do not receive their ballot by Monday, June 22, then they should expect and plan to vote in-person at their local poll site on Tuesday."
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 23, or they can be delivered in-person to the elections board office by Tuesday. Voters can apply for absentee ballots right up until Monday, although that would have to be done in-person.
Early voting continues through Sunday, although specific voting precincts may be different from usual sites. Also, traditional voting precincts on primary election day also could have moved. Anyone who wants to verify where they can cast a ballot in-person can visit NYC.PollSiteLocator.com.
Only Democrats are eligible to vote in this year's primary inside of Dinowitz's Assembly District, he said, citing that no other political party has contested races.
Democrats not only will cast votes in support of who they want representing the party for races like Assembly, state senate and congress, but also for president as well. Voters also will choose male and female district leaders, state committee members, and civil court judge.
Polls on Tuesday open at 6 a.m., and remain open until 9 p.m. Because there are expected to be delays in counting the higher-than-usual number of absentee ballots, The Press will publish a day later, meaning subscribers will receive the paper a day later than usual.