Chautauqua County Board of Elections continue early voting preparations
MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Board of Elections is well under way complying with its state mandate to provide early voting the for county voters for the first time this year.
Early voting, signed into law in January by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was part of a package passed by the State Legislature that consolidates the date for federal and state primary elections; provides for pre-registration for teens; and allows voters to seamlessly transfer their voter registration when they move anywhere within New York State.
Each county in New York State will have a slightly different Early Voting process that will start Sat. Oct. 26th and run through Sun. Nov. 3rd. On Sat. and Sun for the two weekends before the General Election, early voting hours will be noon to 5 p.m.; Mon. Oct. 28 and Tue. Oct. 29, noon to 8 p.m.; Wed. Oct 30, Thu. Oct. 31st and Fri. Nov. 1 hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Designated early voting sites are Board of Elections, 7 N Erie St. Mayville; Chautauqua County Fairgrounds, 4H Building/Ag & Expo Center, 1089 Central Ave. Dunkirk; and Chautauqua Mall, main entrance, 318 E Fairmount Ave. Lakewood.
“Our designation of times and locations for early voting was decided to fully comply with election law and with an eye to fully serve the voters of our county by providing convenient locations and access for voting,” said Republican Election Commissioner Brian C. Abram.
“We are exceeding the state mandate,” added Election Commissioner Norman P. Green. “But the hours and number of voting locations were adopted by us with an eye toward what the taxpayers can afford. We really try to pinch pennies without jeopardizing our level of service we provide. We are only mandated to have one county early voting site, but we decided that our known historical geographical divide requires a north, south and county seat early voting site.”
Voters from any village, town or city in the county will be able to travel to any one of the three early voting sites to cast a ballot. Once at the early voting poll site, an electronic poll book will allow voters to sign in to vote, with a comparison of the signature on file from the voter’s original voter registration form. The correct ballot from any county election districts will be printed on demand from the electronic poll book information, voted in private and cast on an optical scan voting machine. Further, pursuant to state election law, the list of voters who cast ballots early will be made available to candidates as an aid to assisting with get out the vote efforts.
Every night the machines in the three polling places will be placed into rooms, and each room is equipped with two new deadbolt locks. The key to one of the locks will be held by a Republican election inspector, the key to the other will be held by a Democratic election inspector. The voted paper ballots will be brought to the Board of Elections every night.
The cost to implement early voting in Chautauqua County will be about $50,000 per election and that will be covered in the first year by a state grant. The Nov. 5 general election will not be affected by early voting and all normal county poll sites will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters casting ballots early will not be allowed to vote a second time.
Absentee voting will take place any time at the Board of Elections Office during all business hours. Print and mail applications to the Board of Elections, 7 N. Erie St. Mayville, NY 14757 and the Ballot will be mailed the same day that the application is received. Board of Elections mail can’t be forwarded and Ballots will be delivered to the address directed by the Voter on the Absentee Ballot Application.