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23% Of Expected County Voters Have Cast Ballots

Nearly one quarter of the number of expected voters for the Nov. 3 election have already cast ballots, according to Chautauqua County’s election commissioners.

Democratic Commissioner Norman P. Green and Brian C. Abram announced that approximately 23% of their projected voters have already voted, either by absentee vote or by voting early at one of the three different sites across the county beginning last Saturday.

Entering Tuesday, 4,480 had voted at the three sites while 8,433 of the 11,744 absentee ballots requested have been returned. In total, 12,913 people have voted with election day less than a week away.

Poll workers in Dunkirk at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds site processed 2,028 votes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday; the Chautauqua Mall processed 1,867 votes in Lakewood and the board of elections office in Mayville processed 585 votes. All three sites had their most populated day on Monday.

“My colleagues across New York state were scoffing at the lines down south,” Green told The Post-Journal. “I kept telling them that I’ve done the math and I thought we’re going to have the kind of lines.

“One would say, ‘Well, gee, how could you have any lines at all?'” he added.

“We have ballot-on-demand, though and that requires special equipment. We have over 100 election districts in the county. It’s not as if we have unlimited amounts of equipment. We deployed everything we could possibly deploy. I did expect this. We did staff it correctly. I find people are getting through the lines and saying they waited a while, but as long as people are pleasant and efficient and they know what they’re doing, it’s like going to the grocery store and nothing is usually worse than going to the grocery store.”

Hours for the early voting at Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, County Fairground in Dunkirk, and at the Board of Elections office in Mayville are noon to 8 p.m. today and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Our absentee voting has slowed down since the start of early voting,” Abram said. “We are at 1,372 applications as of (Tuesday) morning.”

Tuesday was the last day for voters to call 753-4580, email vote@co.chautauqua.ny.us, to apply for an absentee ballot at votechautauqua.com, or to postmark an absentee ballot application. Starting Wednesday, voters would need an application for an absentee ballot to be carried by an “agent,” neighbor or friend to the Board of Elections office in Mayville.

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