ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This week on Empire State Weekly, the end is near for New York’s midterm election, with election day on November 8. Before polls open at 6 A.M. election officials and other experts go over important data and reminders before voters fill out ballots on election day.

John Conklin, with New York’s Board of Elections, explained that early voting current early voting is at roughly 40 percent of what it was in 2020. The rate was likely higher that year due to the serious concern around the pandemic. He also said it’s important for voters to remember to turn over their ballot when voting as there are several proposals on the back that they can cast their vote on.

Also this week, a recent voter approval poll from PIX11 News, Emerson College Polling, and The Hill showed Democrat Kathy Hochul widened her lead over Republican Lee Zeldin in the race for New York governor. Ayana Harry, a reporter with WPIX in New York City, said the poll further shows what issues voters find important and how those issues differ from some candidate’s messaging. She explained, despite recent political ads focusing on crime, the poll found the top issue is the economy for 35% of voters.

Additionally, some areas of the country have seen a growing trend of armed individuals dressed in military-style clothing hanging around polling locations. Law enforcement suggests these self-designated “poll watchers” may be working to discourage and intimidate voters or pressure election officials into changing results.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple spoke about the precautions his office is taking to protect voters from intimidation or p[olicial violence. He stated that his office works closely with the Board of Elections to identify and respond to any potential problem.

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