(BUFFALO N.Y.) WIVB – Thousands of Erie County residents went out and voted, more than a week before Election Day. That’s thanks to early voting, which started for the first time in New York state on Saturday.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful and we should’ve had it many years ago,” said Mary Berlow who voted with her husband Sheldon. “We wanted very much to vote in this election, we had a strong opinion.”
There are 37 early voting sites in Erie County, with at least one site in every town. Most of the polling places are at community centers and senior centers.
According to Erie County Board of Elections Commissioners Ralph M. Mohr and Jeremy J. Zellner, 3,485 ballots were cast on the first day of early voting in Erie County, or .59 percent of the county’s registered voters.
“The turnout was wonderful,” said Bonnie Flickinger, who works as the election inspector at the North Buffalo Community Center. “There was a line waiting when we opened this morning, I think people are curious and anxious to see how this all works.”
To participate in early voting, you walk in to one of the polling places, if you don’t have your ID or voter card, you can tell the polling instructor your name. Once the polling instructor finds your name on their iPad, you sign in and cast your ballot. Political leaders say early voting is a convenient option.
“You never know what election day brings. Sometimes you’re too busy, sometimes you have an emergency,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “Some people want to get out and vote but don’t have an opportunity.”
“It was a very good idea because we had arranged to be out of town at the time and certaintly like to vote at all the local elections,” Early voter Sheldon Berlow said.
Early voting is available on weekends from noon to 6 p.m. and weekdays from noon to 9 p.m. Early voting continues until Sunday November 3rd.