More people choosing mail-in ballots

Your Election Headquarters

(WIVB) — Because of the pandemic, more people are choosing mail-in ballots, and election boards across the country are gearing up.

Ralph Mohr, one of Erie County’s election commissioners, says they didn’t sleep much during the primary.

“We worked a number of weekends, a number of evenings, and a number of nights even. We pulled a few all-nighters to get the ballots out.”

And Mohr expects the presidential election will be even busier.

“We anticipate a very large volume of mail in ballots and mail in ballot requests,” he says.

Lots of people will cast their votes like this. But with more mail-in ballots, Erie County Election Commissioner Jeremy Zellner says they need more inspectors and more money.

“We simply cannot do this job with the budget that we’re asking to be working under right now and ten times as much work,” Zellner says.

Congress provided money for election assistance in the first pandemic aid stimulus package. More funding is not likely.

“We’ve already appropriated an awful lot of money for election assistance,” Sen. Mitch McConnell says.

Even with the budget as-is, voters have a new way to track their mail-in ballots. To do an absentee ballot status search, you go to the Erie County Board of Elections website, type in your first name, last name, and birth date, and you can track the status of your ballot.

New York state considers COVID-19 a public health emergency and a reason to apply for an absentee ballot. You can do that by going to the Board of Elections website.

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