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Record number of absentee ballot requests received

OBSERVER file photo

The Chautauqua County Board of Elections said it has received a record number of absentee ballot requests ahead of this year’s general election.

In a news release Friday, the board said it has received 7,000 requests to date, with the election still eight weeks out. In past years, no more than 4,000 requests for an absentee ballot were received.

Election commissioners, Norm Green and Brian Abram, expect that 70% (55,000) will take part in this year’s election.

The board, which is one of just five of 62 counties statewide that prints its ballots in-house, will be mailing absentee ballots starting Friday, Sept. 18, and every business day thereafter when a timely application is received before Election Day.

The board ordered 60,000 printed envelopes, since each ballot needs three envelopes when it goes out: a labeled envelope for the mailing of the ballot, an envelope to return the voted ballot and the actual security envelope holding the ballot.

With the record number of absentee requests already received and the totals expected to increase, Green and Abram are expecting workers will be at the board six days a week processing returned absentee ballots.

“We have brought on extra staff and our regular workers are kicking it up a notch to ensure that the absentee ballots get out the door on time,” Abram said.

Added Green: “No voter will be denied the opportunity to vote by mail, as long as they apply now and return their ballots as soon as they are received,” concluded Green.

Voters can apply in a one stop on-line request portal that can be located at votechautauqua.com Also voter can call the elections office at 753-4580 daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The elector could also send via mail or fax a hard copy absentee application.

This year voters will find a Chautauqua County unique tracking tool that will allow county citizens to determine their personal voting status and track the application, mailing and receipt of their voted absentee ballot.

“Chris Burt in our office developed the ballot tracking software,” Green said. “The tracking application was developed by Chris during his workday and at no additional cost to the taxpayers.”

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