Southern Tier updates mail-in and absentee ballot turnouts during early voting period

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SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WETM) – Early voting is now underway across New York State. Residents in the Southern Tier can cast their mail-in ballots before Election Day, now through October 31.

Due to the pandemic, mail-in ballots increased in popularity last year, and counties across the state are expecting similar turnouts this year. For the Steuben County Board of Elections, the results right now are a bit underwhelming.

“We issued 1229, but we’ve only gotten back, as of today, 530,” Steuben County Democratic Commissioner of Elections Kelly Penziul said.

The Chemung County Board of Elections has also experienced a low turnout for mail-in ballots, with a few hundred less than what is now anticipated.

“Well, there were approximately 1,520 mailed out,” Chemung County Democratic Commissioner of Elections James E. Hare said. “At this point, 697 have been returned, and the anticipation is maybe 1,000.”

Absentee ballots across Steuben County have been underwhelming as well, with results being closer-to-normal compared to last year.

“It seems to be pretty much a general year for our absentees,” Steuben County Republican Commissioner of Elections Veronica Olin said. “We did receive some through the online portal that was available, but it wasn’t anything unusual.”

The absentee ballots for Chemung County have also shown more normal results.

“In normal years, the board sends out approximately 1,500 to 2,000,” Chemung County Republican Commissioner of Elections Sperry J. Navone said. “Right now, we’re around in that range of what we would send out. What we’re getting back is actually a little low compared to previous years. So far, we usually get around 1,000 back but we do have a few less so there isn’t a spike in essence.”

For residents in the Southern Tier, there is still time to vote early. More information about early voting can be found on the Chemung County and Steuben County Board of Elections websites.

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