New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) may send National Guard troops to polling locations on Election Day to ensure voters are able to cast in-person ballots in the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The New York Post reports:
During a teleconference with reporters, Cuomo said that “the Board of Elections is basically a person-powered, staffing function” and that the June 23 primary elections “showed a lot of issues with the local boards.”
“We said to them, ‘Learn from that experience, tell us what you need,’” he said. “We can use National Guard personnel to help.”
Cuomo said he’s also prepared to have state and local government employees idled by the coronavirus crisis fill in for poll workers, even though Election Day is among the 12 legal holidays recognized by the Empire State.
Cuomo’s comments come in the wake of criticism directed at the New York governor for refusing to deploy the National Guard to crack down on civil unrest and riots sparked by the death of George Floyd.
“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 president told Cuomo in a June conference call.
Earlier this month, Cuomo lashed out at President Trump after he signed off on a memo ordering his administration to review potential funding cuts to New York City and other cities plagued by violence, saying: “He better have an army if he thinks he’s gonna walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
The New York Democrat added: “He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City. People don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
On Monday, as the Post first reported, the Department of Justice designated New York City, Portland, and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions.”
“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 hangs in the balance,’’ he added.