This is the first year voters will be allowed to cast ballots early in a presidential election. It’s a welcome expansion of the democratic process, especially in an era of face coverings and social distancing.
That’s the good news.
The not-so-good news is an anticipated record turnout at the early polls as predicted by election officials in some counties. A new mark could be set by the accessibility of three options for voting early this year and it is possible the sheer number of votes to be counted will overwhelm the system.
But let’s focus on the good news.
“We’re hoping the public takes advantage of early voting at County Building 2. That spreads it out and maybe we won’t have 80 percent of voters on Election Day turning out to vote in-person,” Genesee County’s Democratic Election Commissioner Lorie Longhany told The Daily News in an Oct. 3 story detailing the early voting efforts in the four-county GLOW Region.
James Schlick, Republication commissioner for the Wyoming County Board of Elections, said things are going well so far as the board prepares for early voting.
“We’re all set. We pretty much will be doing the same things we did in June,” for the primary election and special election, he told The Daily News. “Early voting is another way to try to avoid more people voting on Election Day.”
Voters are taking to early balloting, if last year’s turnout is any indication. According to the Vote Early NY web page, 2,150 people voted early in the GLOW Region. Data from the state Board of Elections showed 930 early votes cast n Livingston County, 537 in Genesee County, 374 in Orleans County, and 309 in Wyoming County.
If that sounds low, view it this way: those voters took advantage of early voting mainly for local elections. This year is a presidential election year, which drives voter turnout, and our region will also cast ballots to chose a congressional representative for the second time in less than five months.
The early voting period begins Oct. 24 and runs through Nov. 1 across the four-county GLOW region. Genesee County will handle early voting at County Building 2, 3837 West Main Street Rd. Batavia. The other GLOW counties will collect early voting ballots at their Board of Elections offices.
“If people want to come to our office and early vote, it is a quick and easy process,” said David DiPasquale, Democratic commissioner for the county’s board of elections. “...There should be no problems in our office. There usually is no lines. If there is, it would be a very brief line because it’s a pretty simple and easy process.”
And remember this: Every vote counts, even early ones.
For more information
Contact GLOW region boards of elections:
n Genesee County: County Building I, 15 Main St., Batavia; (585) 815-7804; https://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/elections/index.php.
n Livingston County: 6 Court St., Geneseo; (585) 243-7090 or (585) 335-1705; https://www.livingstoncounty.us/123/Board-of-Elections.
n Orleans County: 14016 State Route 31, Albion; (585) 589-3274; https://www.orleanscountyny.com/departments/elections/.
n Wyoming County: 4 Perry Ave., Warsaw; (585) 786-8931; https://www.wyomingco.net/162/Board-of-Elections.