Voting during the coronavirus pandemic


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS 10) — As a way to limit the number of people at polling stations on Election Day, voting by absentee ballot is being encouraged. In New York State, the primary will be held on June 23.

Already, Board of Elections in the Capital Region are experiencing a higher number of absentee ballot application requests than 4 year ago.

Albany County’s applicant number is seven times greater, while Schenectady and Warren County’s number has increased by six times the amount from 2016.

The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is June 16.

“I think we’re being successful at driving people to the absentee ballot process,” said John Conklin, a spokesperson for the New York State Board of Elections. “In addition there will be early voting that will run from June 13th to June 21st. That starts this weekend on Saturday.”

For those who would rather vote in-person on Election Day, you still can. Social distancing protocols will be in place. Voting could take longer than usual, as equipment will be wiped down periodically.

“You should bring a mask,” explained Conklin. “If you don’t bring a mask you will be offered one. If you decline to wear one whether you out of principle or because you can’t wear one, then you will be segregated from the other voters and be given an opportunity to vote in another area of the poll site.”

Conklin said because of all of the absentee ballots, people shouldn’t expect election results right away.

“State law requires that absentee ballots have 7 days to come in in order to be counted. So maybe a board will choose to start counting the day after an election but they cannot finish until the 7th day. And given the number of absentee ballots that they are receiving, I don’t know if they will finish on that 7th day. It will probably take more than that to get through it.”

He advises everyone to check in with their local board of elections for polling site locations and times.

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