“We knew that turnout would be high. But the fact of voters have truly embraced early voting this year is phenomenal to see around the state,” said Common Cause New York Deputy Director Sarah Goff.
During the 2019 general election, about 250,000 people voted early out of a total of about three million who voted.
The demand this year has influenced some county boards of elections like Schenectady to extend their early voting hours. “Asking boards to do things that are unrealistic, like opening more early voting poll sites, just doesn’t make sense. So, they are being responsive and proactive to the voter demand, and I think that if counties can do it, they absolutely should,” Goff said.
Goff says she would have liked to see more state funding for elections, and that hopefully there will be more early voting sites in the future. Any vote cast during the early period will be counted on the night of Election Day. However, by statute, absentee ballots won’t be counted until after Election Day.
“We have to wait for the balance to come in but there also has to be a statewide comparison of all absentee applications and affidavit ballots to make sure no one attempted to vote in more than one place during early voting. So that takes a few days for all of that to be calculated,” said John Conklin, Public Information Director for the New York State Board of Elections.
About 2.5 million New Yorkers requested an absentee ballot this year, and the latest count shows that about 850,000 have been returned.