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LAKEWOOD, NY (WNY News Now) – Early voting begins on Saturday in New York State. Specifically in Chautauqua County, our local Board of Elections is getting ready to open four sites where voters can cast their ballots.
“There’s a lot of things that need to come together. We need to get all the equipment where, at these three or four sites. Three sites that are off center and one of course in Mayville. You gotta make sure that the printers, the machines, all the equipment that goes with it is a poll site and it happens to be a nine day consecutive poll site so you come in and make sure, just like on Election Day everything is set and ready to go for each of the voters in Chautauqua county,” explains Republican Commissioner Brian Abram.
Chautauqua County Board of Elections Commissioners Brian Abram and Luz Torres lead the charge to set up four early voting sites, including the poll at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.
“We do testing of our voting machines to be sure everything’s good to go for Election Day and early voting. We also transport them in a truck where Brian is involved to each spot,” says Democratic Commissioner Torrez .
Though the elongated early voting period has been controversial, the Commissioners believe it has allowed for a greater voter turn out overall.
“The extra time and the convenience if you will of not having it on one day,” says Abrams. “People will come to the mall and be shopping and look over and say all of a sudden, ‘oh they’re voting today, let’s get that done,’ and not out of the way but taken care of. So we get people who drift in and especially here at the mall where we get traffic, foot traffic so that’s a good situation.”
This year, around 50 percent of voters are expected to turnout to cast their ballot.
“And being that it’s a General Election everyone should come out and vote because everyone votes in the General Election. So we’re hoping more people will come out and take advantage of early voting,” says Torrez.
Early votes count the same as an Election Day vote, despite some misinformation on the subject. The voting process from start to finish, takes less than ten minutes. Sample ballots are also available online and at all early voting locations.
Early voters can visit the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds, the Chautauqua Mall, the Robert H. Jackson Center and the Board of Elections office Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday and Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning on Saturday, October 29.
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