Just checked the early voting line and it’s way shorter today — only about a block long. I’m still gonna wait for a week day, but don’t let fears of long lines deter you. Early voting is a work in progress in NYC, but we used to only have one day and we managed that!
If everyone treats day one of early voting like it’s Election Day it’s bound to be a cluster fuck because there are fewer early voting poll sites than Election Day sites. But when early voting allows people to spread voting out in advance of Election Day it should work great.
Also I am *only* talking about NYC here, and yes, I’d love to see more early voting poll sites; but that requires a lot more people to volunteer to work the polls.
Also if you’re wondering why blue New York only got early voting — something Texas, Florida, and Tennessee have had since the 1990s — in 2018... ease of voting is not a simple red/blue issue, folks.
While New York State doesn’t have the same racially targeted legacy of voter suppression that southern states have, it would be naive to say we’re a state that’s been invested in voter turnout. Blue as we may be, we have a long history of being run by machine politicians.
And the thing about machines is that, red or blue, they’re invested in controlling who shows up to vote; in particular, they want to make sure that voters who are loyal to them — who are often the more engaged/motivated voters — are the ones most likely to turn out.
Some things the New York machine has done with an intentional eye towards depressing turnout include:

- mayoral/gubernatorial in off years — gubernatorial happen in even years when there isn’t a presidential election; mayoral happen in *odd* years, when no one pays attention
- separate primaries for state and federal elections — because of the pandemic, we only had one primary this year, but *historically* we’ve had separate primaries, one where we select our federal candidates and one where we select local ones
- absentee voting requires a reason
In 2018 we elected a slate of progressives to Albany, and they have been liberalizing our voting laws — that’s why we have early voting now. But there’s a long and complicated history of restricting voting to the most motivated that’s gonna take a lot of work to undo.
Also, I mean, if you’re feeling morally superior because your state has better early voting than NYS does... I feel like maybe the lesson here is that everyone has problems and no one should feel morally superior to anyone else about the ways their legislature isn’t fucking them?
I think a thing to understand about New York’s history of voter suppression is that it’s been less about keeping specific demographics from voting and more about keeping casually engaged citizens from mucking around in the state and local government
It’s still voter suppression but it’s got different processes and a different end game 🤷🏻‍♀️
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