Capitol Notes

Onondaga County expanding early voting hours

Onondaga County voters will get four extra hours to take advantage of early voting next weekend.

The expansion is an attempt to accommodate the unprecedented demand for early voting, as more than 9,800 votes were cast during the first weekend in Onondaga County, easily exceeding the approximately 8,600 early votes cast during all of last year in the county.

“The overall number was a big surprise,” Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny told The Capitol Pressroom on Monday. “I mean we expected brisk turnout. I thought 3,000 people a day at the outside.” 

“Obviously these are not lines we have ever ben accustomed to in central New York and we handled it really well…What was amazing was in many of these (early voting) sites hundreds of people were lined up before we opened,” he added.

Because of the initial demand, Czarny said there was a bipartisan agreement in Onondaga County to start early voting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1, instead of at 10 a.m. Voting will conclude at 3 p.m. on both days.

The county is unable to add any additional polling sites at this point, as state law requires they be open for all nine days of early voting.

In the future, Czarny is hopeful that early voting sites and hours will be increased across the state. “This reform is going grow in popularity and we need to have the bandwidth to deal with this,” he said.

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