MAYVILLE — Early voting in Chautauqua County was on a record smashing pace this election season, with more than 14,000 voters taking part.
Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram told WNYNewsNow this is historic.
“I’ve been here going on 12 years and I’ve never seen lines like this,” he said, adding that there are, as he sees it, two big reasons for so much interest this year.
Being a presidential election year, there are more voters than in so-called off years and this year is no exception, he said.
In addition, however, COVID-19 concerns also have a major impact, Abram explained.
“I think people are a little bit fearful,” he said. “I want to do my voting but I want to do it as quickly as possible.”
Registration increased by about 4,000 voters this year, but that’s expected in the presidential cycle, he said.
Abram said there have been a few complaints, as expected, but no major issues.
“Everything is going very, very well. There are a few complaints as always,” Abram said. “But it has been incredibly successful so far.”
He praised voters who stood in line to cast their ballot and to Board of Election workers for their efforts and dedication.
“Hats off to the people who stood and waited and hats off to the people who participated in the process,” he said.
Because if the high number of absentee ballots, as many as 10,000 this year, it is highly unlikely that voters, media, officials or candidates will go to bed election night knowing who won.
“You will not know true, clear cut winners for at least a week or so,” he said.
For anyone voting absentee, he said to make sure the postmark is clear and readable.