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Early voting may be curtailed in NYC’s coronavirus hot spot areas


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Early voting ahead of the November general election in coronavirus hot-spot zones in Brooklyn and Queens may be curtailed if the infection rates in those areas do not improve, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

“This is something we’re going to have to sort out,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing when asked whether residents in the affected areas will be able to vote early if the new state-ordered lockdown restrictions in the city’s hot spots continue past the two-week minimum.

The COVID-19 restrictions — which include the closure of schools, non-essential businesses and capacity limits in houses of worship — went into effect in cluster zones in Brooklyn and Queens last Thursday.

Early voting in New York begins on Oct. 24 and runs until Nov. 1 before the Nov. 3 election.

De Blasio said the matter of residents voting early in those hot spots is “something we will talk with our health officials and with our Board of Elections to figure out the best way to approach it.”

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“Obviously, thankfully people have more than one opportunity [to vote],” de Blasio said, explaining that New Yorkers can opt to vote-by-mail “if that’s their preference.”

“They can vote on Election Day itself,” Hizzoner added.

Meanwhile, de Blasio said that the coronavirus situation in the Big Apple’s highest risk “red” zone areas is somewhat progressing.

“We are seeing some results,” he said. “We got certainly a lot of work ahead, but we are seeing some leveling off.”

“This is a decisive week in our battle against the coronavirus,” said de Blasio.

By the end of this week, de Blasio said “we’re going to have a very good idea of what’s going on.”

The areas in Brooklyn and Queens experiencing COVID-19 upticks – some of which where large Orthodox communities reside — were divided by

the state into three color-coded zones: red, orange and yellow. Each zone has a different level of restrictions.

De Blasio noted that in some areas where the infection rate was increasing, it is “not going up anymore.”

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“It’s not across the board. It’s not perfect. We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We see some starting to come down a bit.”

The mayor explained that bit of progress is evident in the city’s coronavirus indicators.

Voting booths sit at a New York City Board of Elections warehouse in 2016.
Voting booths sit at a New York City Board of Elections warehouse in 2016.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The latest city data shows that the daily percentage of people testing positive citywide is at 1.90 percent, while the citywide infection rate on a seven-day average is at 1.48 percent.

The Big Apple’s seven-day rolling average of new virus cases is at 520 – just 30 away from the city’s 550 threshold, according to the data.

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