NYS Legislature passes Early Voting bill

01.15.19 | Bob Price

Early Voting is now law in the state of New York. 

One of the first big votes of the year in Albany concerning Early Voting passed in the state senate Monday evening. It was passed by the state assembly later on Monday evening.

Now that the measure has passed, you'll have nine extra days to get to the polls to cast your vote this November.

And there is some concern about how much it will cost and if they have enough time.

2 On Your Side spoke with Erie County's Republican Election Commissioner, Ralph Mohr, and Democratic Election Commissioner, Jeremy Zellner, about getting Early Voting up and running in the next 10 months.

"We're going to have to make it happen," Mohr said. "We haven't missed an election yet. I doubt we will, but it's still going to be a situation where it's going to take a lot of effort a lot of planning and a lot of trial and error."

There has to be a minimum of seven early voting locations in each county, but there could be more. However, cost is a factor.

"I'm hoping that we can work with our state legislators," Zellner said, "to help our local governments put the correct funding into place"

One of the more expensive changes is the move to electronic voting machines. Erie County used theirs in previous elections, but not in multiple locations, over several days.

Connectivity is a major concern. The polling sites and the board of elections need to share voter information real time to ensure people aren't casting multiple ballots. Cyber-security will also be a huge issue.

Mohr says a major drawback of having such a quick turnaround is that they'll likely not have a back up system in place, if the internet goes down or a technical issue, "It's physically impossible to print the number of poll books that we need here in Erie County, just to conduct a general election, over that 24 hour period of time, and then deliver them out to each of the poll sites. So, we're going to have to come up with the mechanism to be able to go and indicate that on election day so people aren't able to go and vote twice."