Manhattan elected officials push for ballot
drop boxes across New York state
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Hoping to make it easier for New
Yorkers to vote this year — and
torpedo any outlandish claims
from President Trump about voter fraud —
Manhattan lawmakers rallied on Monday
in support of legislation permitting ballot
dropboxes in New York state.
State Senator Brad Hoylman joined Assemblyman
Richard Gottfried, Manhattan
Borough President Gale Brewer and good
government advocates on the steps of the
Farley Post Offi ce on Aug. 31 in support
of the bill that would permit local Boards
of Elections to set up ballot dropboxes in
The legislation (S.8902/A.10942) would
set up a voting dropbox network similar
to those established in other states across
America that have mail-in voting systems.
Participants at Monday’s rally stressed the
need for New York to have such a network,
given that the U.S. Postal Service is mired
in turmoil that threatens to undermine
the delivery and count of all votes this
Hoylman and others maintained that
ballot drop boxes are “a secure, reliable
option” in used in at least 33 states. He also
pointed out that the U.S. Department of
PHOTO COURTESY OF STATE SENATOR BRAD HOYLMANS OFFICE.
Manhattan lawmakers at the Aug. 31 rally, posing with a ballot dropbox.
Homeland Security called such drop boxes
“a secure and convenient means for voters
to return their ballots” in recent guidance
to state and local election offi cials.
Though President Trump has wholly
dismissed mail-in ballots as being ripe
for fraud — Trump has secured a mailed
ballot for himself in this coming election —
recent studies have shown what Hoylman
described as “minuscule” rates of possible
fraud, 0.0025% of all ballots cast being
identifi ed as potentially fraudulent.
“New York won’t allow Donald
Trump’s relentless attempts to undermine
our elections and spread misinformation to
succeed,” Hoylman said. “As his administration’s
attacks on the USPS create postal
delays across the country and New York
grapples with historic numbers of absentee
ballots, we need to ensure New Yorkers
that their votes will be counted.”
“Secure drop boxes will make it easier
to vote and make sure ballots are honestly
and quickly delivered and counted. Drop
boxes have been proven to work in states
from Connecticut to Oregon. Our bill will
give New Yorkers the same convenient and
safe option,” added Gottfried.
A litany of governmental advocates
also praised the legislation, including the
League of Women Voters of New York
State, VoteEarlyNY, the Downtown Women
for Change, Citizens Union, NYPIRG
and Empire State Indivisible.
The bill, if enacted, would require all
Boards of Elections to post on their websites
same-day information about drop box
locations. Voters would be able to drop off
their completed ballots by the close of polls
on Election Day.
While June is typically the close of the
legislative session in Albany, the state
legislature has been working remotely
during the COVID-19 pandemic, and
could reconvene if needed, according to a
spokesperson for Hoylman.
The lawmaker has also asked Governor
Andrew Cuomo to issue an executive order
permitting ballot drop boxes for this coming
election, the spokesperson added.
Ferry’s East Side extension a ‘ferry’ big deal
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined community
leaders on Friday for a ride
on NYC Ferry’s new extension
from Astoria to the Upper East Side.
In August, the NYC Ferry service announced
it would fi nally expand the line
to connect the neighboring boroughs, after
years of advocacy from Astoria community
leaders. The line will offer a direct connection
from 3-10 Astoria Blvd. to 90th Street
on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Before they embarked on what Manhattan
Councilman Ben Kallos called a twominute
ride across the river, the mayor held
a press conference with Kallos, Congresswoman
Carolyn Maloney and Economic
Development Corporation Executive Director
James Wong at Astoria’s pier.
“The idea of this ferry service was to create
a connection that wasn’t there before,”
de Blasio said, giving credit to the many
community members who advocated for
The NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower
through the city Economic Development
Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks and rides the ferry to celebrate the extension
of the Astoria ferry line. Astoria Ferry Landing, Astoria. Friday August 28, 2020.
Corporation, said the additional line comes
at no additional cost to taxpayers and that the
short detour across the East River changes
nothing about the ferry services subsidy.
Maloney saluted the EDC for “doing a
terrifi c, creative job.”
“We were here just a year ago and we had
a barbecue and press conference saying,
‘Hey, we’ve got the pier here, we’ve got the
pier in East 90th Street, it’s only a thousand
PHOTO BY ED REED/MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE
fi t, that’s all it is — you can build a small
bridge easily but it’s much more fun to go by
ferry,” Maloney said. “We were joining all
of you and pushing for this ferry service, so
I’m thrilled to be here and to celebrate it.”
The NYC Ferry’s line doesn’t just connect
people from Astoria to the Upper East
Side, but will also take people farther south
of Manhattan. The addition of the Upper
East Side stop will have a slight headway
change from 34 to 37 minutes for riders.
Fares for NYC Ferry are $2.75 with a city
subsidy of about $9.34 per rider.
De Blasio added that while they’re celebrating
the new line and how it’ll benefi t
Astoria Houses and the whole neighborhood
greatly, he wanted to mention the
history of the ferry.
“There was a ferry connection until
1936, and Robert Moses, who did some
good things, but also did a lot of things that
were very troubling and divisive in the city,
he is the person who apparently gave the
order to cancel that ferry service,” de Blasio
said. “Well, we’re righting that wrong. Most
of a hundred years later, we’re righting that
wrong and restoring that connection.”
Councilman Kallos thanked his “BFF in
City Council and in life” Astoria Councilman
Costa Constantinides for joining him
and the community in advocating for the
“Our districts actually touch in the water
… but we were never able to physically get
from one district to another without having
to go through another district — now we
can because of this ferry service.”
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