MTA won’t open subway early for Election Day poll workers; Board of Elections will offer some employees free cab rides

Clayton Guse, New York Daily News
·2 min read

Don’t blame us if poll workers can’t get to their jobs on Election Day, MTA officials said Wednesday.

Subways are closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. — but many poll workers must show up for work at 5 a.m. to make sure polling places are open by 6 a.m.

The MTA says it’ll help by giving advice to the New York City Board of Elections that will help guide poll workers with early morning commutes.

Workers whose commutes take longer than 90 minutes or require more than two bus transfers will be offered a free cab or Uber ride, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Pat Foye.

But the free rides won’t be administered by the MTA, an agency with a transportation expertise. They’ll instead be paid for and managed by the Board of Elections.

The BOE will also be responsible for emailing each poll worker the MTA’s advice on how to get to work without using the subway, MTA officials said.

BOE representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

A majority of the city’s poll workers live within a half-mile of their work locations. But with dozens of staffers assigned to each of the city’s 1,200-plus voting locations, the subway shutdown may prove to be a major obstacle.

From May 6 — when Gov. Cuomo closed the subways overnight to disinfect trains of COVID-19 and kick out homeless riders — until the end of August, the MTA offered essential workers with long commutes free cab rides. Transit officials canceled the program because it cost roughly $73,000 per weeknight.

Foye said the MTA has “robust bus service” that can be used by marooned poll workers when the subways are closed.

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