Nearly 90 city polling sites will be open for early voting ahead of the November general election — including more than two dozen daycare centers and public schools with kids in session.
The 88 sites, which include nine city-run kiddie centers and 18 public schools, will adhere to strict safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while open for the nine days from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1, said the New York City Board of Elections.
According to the board’s required health measures:
-Voters must wear masks, with poll-site workers providing face covers to those who show up without them.
-PlexiGlas will be installed where voters sign in, so that there is a barrier between them and election workers.
-Voters are supposed to receive a plastic ID card in the mail that they should then bring with them and use to have their voter information called up on tablets to confirm their identity, thus speeding up interactions while reducing contact between poll workers and voters.
-Stylus pens also will be given to voters to sign in, mark their ballots and then take away with them.
-Floor markers will be laid down to help maintain social-distancing.
-Antiviral wipes will be available, and voting machines will be cleaned regularly with antiseptic wipes, while voters can use a foot pump to get hand sanitizer.
The BOE will not be checking temperatures at the door, nor testing voters for the virus at the door or requiring them to provide proof that they recently tested negative for the deadly bug.
Safety at the polling-site schools has been a major issue amid the pandemic.
City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong sent a joint letter to the BOE last month demanding election officials find alternative sites because of coronavirus safety concerns.
“The Administration and Department of Education have been very clear that continuing to use schools as early voting sites while school is in session is not realistic moving forward,’’ the Sept. 11 missive said — blasting the BOE’s plan “unacceptable and not operationally feasible.’’
“It is even more critical this fall when we are tasked with ensuring that social distancing is maintained during in-school learning and that our schools are safe for students and staff,” the pair wrote.
But BOE Executive Director Mike Ryan responded that there are separate entrances for poll sites at 15 of the 18 schools, thus preventing or at least minimizing interaction with students and staff.
BOE officials said they discussed requiring additional safety measures, such as temperature checks or proof of negative testing, but ultimately ruled them out.
“I don’t think that’s practical,” BOE Secretary Fred Umane, the Manhattan Republican commissioner, said of more precautions.
“Suppose someone doesn’t comply? We’re not going to allow them to vote?
“Everyone has to wear a mask — and we have masks,’’ he noted.
Ryan added, ”We’re talking about a constitutional right. You have to be careful not to infringe on the right to vote or disenfranchise a voter.
“We’re going to make sure the polling sites and safety protocols are enforced.”
Early voting was already rife with controversy in the state.
The election agency’s printer recently included erroneous names and addresses in ballot packages sent to 100,000 voters in Brooklyn.
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