BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Board of Elections is getting absentee ballots ready for voters. Election officials are making sure everyone who wants to vote, and is eligible to vote, during the coronavirus pandemic is able to do so.
“We want people to stay home and stay safe but we certainly want to make sure that everyone who wants to vote has that ability to vote,” said, Erie County Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner, Jeremy Zellner.
County residents can expect to see a postcard in the mail asking if they need an absentee ballot.
“This weekend we’ve had a lot of printing and mailing going on, almost 400-thousand of these postcards have to get mailed out and sent to voters,” Zellner said.
The mailings are in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring voters receive an absentee request form to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at polling places.
Zellner says people can always ask for an absentee ballot online but not every voter can do that and that’s why they’re mailing out the forms.
“A lot of people don’t have the ability to get online, that’s why we’re sending this mailer, they can simply fill out the form and pop it right back in the mail, it has it’s own stamp on it
Everyone who is eligible to vote will receive the postcard, that includes people voting in the democratic presidential primary, and in the special election and republican primary in the 27th congressional district.
“As of now, all of our early voting sites will be ready, our polling places will be ready, June 23rd if people want to come to the polls,” Zellner said. “They’re going to be able to but again we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and many people don’t feel safe and that shouldn’t preclude them from being able to vote.”
The last day to request an absentee ballot is June 16th.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.