MAYVILLE – With less than two weeks before the June primary, the Chautauqua County Board of Elections is gearing up for early voting beginning this weekend in the County, one of the busiest voting times of the year.
Brian Abram and Luz Torres, the Republican and Democratic Board of Elections Commissioners, are amongst those setting up voting sites for the upcoming voting period.
“Saturday kicks off the nine full days of early voting here in New York State. One of the four sites here in the Jackson Center in Jamestown,” says Abram.
Early voting will begin Saturday morning from 9 AM to 5 PM with locations in Mayville, Dunkirk, Jamestown, and Lakewood. Weekday voting will be held Monday and Tuesday from noon to 8PM, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10AM to 6PM.
“We also have the mall, the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, the fairgrounds in Dunkirk, and the Board of Elections in Mayville, New York,” explains Torres.
Voters from any part of the county are welcome to cast their vote at any of the locations.
“What we’ve kinda created with the early voting, we have ten days of voting versus just one. Thus, the opportunities for people to vote and basically not all have to do it on one day has sped up the process. We’re allowing people, maybe at their convenience, to vote versus the one day from 6 AM to 9 PM,” explains Abram.
The Commissioners remind voters that unlike other states, only registered Democrats and Republicans are eligible to vote in the primary.
“In New York State we have a closed primary system, meaning if you’re not a member of that political party, you don’t participate in their primary,” says Abram.
Residents of Chautauqua county can check www.votechautauqua.com to verify whether or not they are affiliated with a political party as well as review absentee ballot options, download voter registration forms and poll site locations.
Abrams assured voters that once a person casts their vote, they will not be able to cast another.
“If you voted early, you are ineligible to vote on Election Day. It’s very clear, the electronic poll book will duly note that. So if you come to vote and you do vote, if you came back on Election Day, the little electronic poll book would tell the poll worker that no, this person’s already cast a ballot,” explains Abram.
Though the June primary is almost in full-swing, the Congressional race has been pushed to August, leaving some voters confused.
“We’ll do more education pieces, a little bit of outreach to tell individuals what will be on the ballot for August, which is a special election. Which will change the dynamic of the election because a special means everybody can come out and vote. So instead of being a primary, we’ll shift gears a little bit and have a special, then maybe a primary within the special,” says Abram.
The August election is slated solely for the Gubernatorial race, with registered Democrats voting for Governor and Lieutenant Governor and registered Republicans voting for Governor candidates only.