ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each day of early voting is drawing thousands to the polls ahead of Election Day. More than 25,000 people have cast their ballot in Erie County, breaking a record for early voting in a non-presidential race.

“So far we’ve had a pretty steady early voting season. We surpassed our total early voting in the first year of 2019,” said Erie County Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner. “I hope people realize the gravity of the races on the ballot, you’ve got five state-wide ballot proposals happening, the Erie County legislature is up for grabs this year as well, so it’s an important election year.”

Voters told News 4 that there’s a big interest in this year’s election because of key races, like the race for Buffalo mayor.

“I wanted to participate in the democratic process today so I thought voting early would be very important,” said early voter Jewell Eason.

“This is a very important election to decide the future of our city,” said voter Paul Eason.

“We are of course very concerned about the mayoral race,” said Mary Jane Szybowski, who voted early at the North Buffalo Community Center. “We really feel strongly about our obligation as citizens to vote, regardless of what our views are, or what our beliefs are or what candidates we’re endorsing, it’s important that we vote.”

Zellner says besides the interest in this year’s local races, people are voting early because of how accessible and convenient early voting is.

“The fact that we are so open, people can literally vote anywhere, I think is lending to the ease of early voting,” Zellner said. “I’ve heard nothing but positive things when I’ve been out at the polling locations, and certainly there’s some more attention on the races this year for mayor, sheriff, comptroller, there is a lot of activity happening in the suburbs as well with races in town”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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