BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The deadline for New York State residents to register to vote in the November 3rd election will be Friday.
“If you have an application that’s filled out, it must be postmarked or transmitted at the agency by (Friday),” said Republican Erie County Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr.
It marks the first of several deadlines in October related to the upcoming election.
- October 9th – Deadline to register to vote
- October 14th – Deadline to change address
- October 24th – Early voting begins
- October 27th – Deadline to postmark application for absentee ballot
Staff at the board of elections is offering advice when it comes to some of those deadlines.
“The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is October 27th, but we’re really encouraging folks to not wait that long,” said Jeremy Zellner, Democratic Erie County Elections Commissioner. “They can apply for it online at our website. It takes less than 90 seconds. Every minute counts. If they do vote absentee, they should fill it out the minute they get it and put it right back in the mail.”
Absentee voters can also drop their ballot off at a polling place or the board of elections headquarters.
Elections officials in Erie County say about 83,000 absentee ballots have already been requested. This year, any New York State voter can request one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, the year of the last presidential election, there were fewer than 30,000 absentee ballots in Erie County.
Meanwhile, Chautauqua County elections officials say they’ve received more than 10,000 absentee ballot applications thus far. That represents about 13% of the county’s electorate, and surpasses the previous record of about 4,000 absentee ballots issued.
SUNY Distinguished Professor of Law and U.B. professor Jim Gardner said each person will have to think deeply about how they want to cast their ballot.
“Every individual voter has to make a cost-benefit analysis of the risks and what they’re willing to tolerate,” he said.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.