With November 3 just over five weeks away, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is considering sending National Guard troops to polling locations on Election Day in an effort to safeguard voters’ ability to cast their ballots in person.
The June 23 primary elections highlighted numerous issues with the local boards and the Board of Elections is “basically a person-powered staffing function,” Cuomo stated during a teleconference, New York Post reported. “We said to them, ‘Learn from that experience, tell us what you need,” Cuomo said. “We can use National Guard personnel to help.”
The New York governor said he may also have state and local government employees who were dismissed by COVID-19 lockdown measures fill in for poll workers, despite Election Day’s designation as a legal holiday in the Empire State.
Cuomo’s considerations come after refusing to deploy the National Guard to stop rioting and civil unrest in New York, which began after George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
President Trump offered assistance to Cuomo in a June conference call, saying, “We’ll send you the National Guard if you want. You have the largest police force in the country, 40,000 people, I understand, but what’s going on in New York is terrible, it’s terrible, of all the places.”
The New York Democrat expressed his discontent with President Trump after his administration released a memo ordering the review of potential funding cuts to cities plagued by violence, New York City included.
“He better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him,” Cuomo said, adding that “he can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City. People don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice designated New York City, Portland, and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions,” with more cities likely to earn the label.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Attorney General Willian Barr said in a statement. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hands in the balance.”
A memo signed by President Trump earlier this month highlighted the increase in violence throughout New York City. The memo addressed an increase in shooting throughout New York this year, including children as young as one-year-old.
“State and local officials allowed looting to take place for over a week, resulting in damage to an estimated 450 business…While violence has surged, arrests have plummeted. Amidst the rising violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council agreed to cut one billion dollars from the New York Police Department budget,” the memo stated. “In light of this unconscionable rise in violence, I have offered to provide Federal Law enforcement assistance, but both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have rejected my offer.”