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Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray returned to their residential roots in Park Slope, Brooklyn to cast their ballots today, Nov. 8, and encourage voters to do the same before polls close.
Having advocated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton up until this point, de Blasio emphasized today’s importance in a mini press conference outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s Park Slope Branch, where he and his wife voted. He also said he feels great about Clinton’s chances of winning and is looking forward to her victory and the continuation of having a Democrat in office.
“I have to say I think sometimes we’re in the middle of making history and sometimes it’s hard to take stock in the moment. There’s something amazing happening today,” said de Blasio. “I really believe this is the day we’re going to elect the first woman president of the United States of America, and, as a Democrat, I’m particularly proud that you know just eight years ago we elected the first African American president; today we’ll elect the first woman president.”
Similarly, the First Lady said she had a positive voting experience and that it felt “wonderful” to cast her vote for Clinton as well.
“This is a historic moment and I signed in my bubble slowly, to savor the moment,” said McCray.
There were long lines and minor delays at this polling site, including spotty Wi-Fi and general voter-district confusion. However, after de Blasio and his wife finally received their “I Voted” stickers and moved outside after 10 a.m., the long lines and confusion subsided.
“But having experienced firsthand the crowdedness while making his way to and from the library basement to vote, the mayor reiterated that New York State’s voting laws are “backwards.” This notion was also de Blasio’s main discussion topic while on-air with WNYC’s Brain Lehrer on the two most recent episodes of “The Brian Lehrer Show.” [See related article, Last Call: de Blasio Stresses Voter Registration and Calls for a New Voting Deadline in New York State]
“Look, I think it’s great that people care enough to stand in line and that’s something that shows their commitment to participate, but there’s a better way, which is early voting. A huge number of states have it; it works, it encourages participation. It’s particularly important for folks who have multiple jobs or for students,” de Blasio said outside the Park Slope library on 6th Avenue and 9th Street. “A lot of people end up getting disenfranchised because of having only one day to vote, so I’m going to fight very hard for early voting in the state of New York, and I think today is going to be further evidence of why we need it.”
But across the neighborhood, many voters felt their voting experiences in the morning hours before noon went well with fast-moving lines and organization within various Park Slope poll sites.
“In the suburbs the lines are just wild. Voting today went smoothly and had short lines,” said Park Slope native Nick Mason, 28, who voted at the Kingsboro Temple of Seventh Day Adventists on 7th Street. “But just walking here from 4th Avenue there was good energy, and even small businesses had red and blue balloons outside. It’s just an exciting day and it feels super charged.”
*Updated Dec. 29, 2016*