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City officials urge Board of Elections to remove schools as early voting sites


City officials are urging the Board of Elections to skip school for the next round of early voting.

In a letter sent Tuesday, officials from the Education Department and mayor’s office said hosting early voting last fall was “disruptive” to many of the 33 schools chosen, and proposed a list of alternative sites for those slated for 2020.

“It is clear that with state testing occurring at the same time as the upcoming April and June primaries, schools cannot viably continue to serve as early voting sites,” education executive Lauren Siciliano and Rini Fonseca-Sabune of the mayor’s office worte.

Parents and teachers have griped a voting center designation shuts down cafeterias and gyms for days at a time, and requires extra school safety officers to monitor people coming in and out of the buildings.

Things will only get more complicated this year, city officials said. Early voting for state primaries in the spring will overlap with state testing days, when schools are already strapped for space.

City officials instead proposed a list of more than 50 alternative sites including hospitals, libraries, and public housing developments. Twenty-one of the locations have previously served as voting sites, and 18 told city officials they’re available during the next round of early voting, the letter pointed out.

New York green-lighted early voting this year, joining dozens of other states that give voters an extended window to cast their ballots.

At a hearing by state legislators to evaluate the first round in November, officials noted that no schools in Queens were designated as early voting sites, proving it’s possible in New York City.

A Board of Elections official did not respond to questions.