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New York State Wants You To Vote Safely

To The Reader’s Forum:

As I write, there are only two and a half months before the November 3 general election. Let me emphasize it is not too early to prepare to vote! If you live in Chautauqua County, N.Y., start with the Board of Elections (BOE) office in Mayville. With a computer or smartphone, visit the BOE website, make a call or send an email. The BOE is also listed in a phone book. First, make sure you’re a registered voter!

Second, the BOE is allowing any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot because of the potential adverse impact of coronavirus, which is essentially “mail-in voting”. But, you must submit an application for an absentee ballot to the BOE, which will be mailed out to requesters on September 18, to be mailed back to the BOE by November 2. While the application postmark deadline is October 27, Don’t delay! You may have heard of potential problems with “delayed mail”; make sure your ballot is received timely and counted! You can track your ballot to ensure it has been received. (Linda and I have already mailed in our applications; what are you waiting for?)

Obviously, voting in person is traditional in N.Y., but we are in extraordinary times, so having a “mail-in” option is the safest way to vote. There is currently no reason to put yourself or a poll worker in health jeopardy. However, if you choose to vote in person, you can do so by “early voting”, but that period is limited to only Saturday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 1, and there are only three locations (Dunkirk, Mayville and Lakewood) to do so. Of course, you can also vote in person on Nov. 3, but who knows how many polling stations will be open or where. Fewer poll workers are expected; traditionally they are older and considered “high risk” for COVID-19.

NY has taken precautions to control the Coronavirus pandemic and, whether you agree with the methods, the precautions have worked so far. Let’s keep up the good, if not hard work! In those states where there is only “mail-in” voting, there are greater participation rates and the suspected fraud rate is no different than in other states. N.Y. wants you to vote safely and securely. Right now there are 32,000+ potential N.Y. voters who died due to COVID-19. What more needs to be said?

Paul L. Demler

Jamestown

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