20 THE QUEENS COURIER • JULY 2, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
City must act now to improve elections
Who won and who lost last
week’s primaries in New York
City isn’t as important as how
the primary was conducted. To
be blunt, it was terrible.
Nobody expected things to go
completely to plan in an election
marred by the COVID-19 pandemic,
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JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS
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Story: Mayor prepares to lay off 22,000 city
employee during pandemic budget crisis
Summary: Mayor Bill de Blasio projects that up
to 22,000 city employees could be laid off or
furloughed to save $1 billion in agency spending
for fi scal year 2021.
Reach: 6,149 (as of 6/30/20)
when New Yorkers were
advised to vote by absentee ballot.
Th e Board of Elections was inundated
with ballot applications,
and it’s apparent they couldn’t
keep up with the demand.
More than 700,000 absentee
ballots were sent to registered
Democrats, at their request, but
as of June 26, the board only got
back 150,000 of them. Th at’s not
even a quarter of the ballots distributed.
Some New Yorkers got their
absentee ballots the day of the
election — or aft er.
One of them was Queens state
Senator Jessica Ramos, who
tweeted on June 26 that she got
her absentee ballot that very day,
three days aft er the primary.
Ramos had voted in person on
June 23 aft er not getting the ballot
Th is was the very thing the
city and state sought to avoid
weeks before the June 23 primary,
when New York was in the
throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Th e objective was to let
New Yorkers cast their vote with
Th e Board of Elections did
everything possible to make the
polling sites safe — from masking
workers to doubled sanitation
eff orts and enforcing social
distancing. Yet none of these
eff orts could guarantee that a
poll worker or a voter would
On top of that was the usual
gambit of election day mishaps
one would fi nd in a normal New
York City contest — from broken
ballot scanners to incorrect
ballots being sent to a voting
Th e Board of Elections must
learn from the mistakes of the
June 23 primary and act fast to
fi x them — because November
is coming, with the all-important
presidential election topping
Action must be taken now
to expedite the distribution of
absentee ballot applications, followed
by the ballots themselves.
Larger polling stations should
also be secured to safely accommodate
voters appearing in person,
with all appropriate safety
Moreover, early voting hours
should be expanded dramatically,
and voters should be encouraged
to make use of it like never before.
Th e voters of this city cannot
aff ord a repeat of June’s primary
Photo via Getty Images
Some New Yorkers got their absentee ballots the day of the election — or even after.