TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Early voting for the primary election began across New York State this weekend. Locally, in Rensselaer County, controversy has surrounded the selection of polling locations.
According to poll workers, over 50 Rensselaer County voters cast their ballot on the first day of early voting Saturday, including 33 at Holy Cross Armenian Church, the only location in Troy.
“I think it’s a great option for people. I mean people get busy, sometimes during the week, you think you’re going to remember, and then you don’t, and then you think, oh I forgot to vote,” said Wendy Pattison, a Troy resident who cast her early vote at the site Sunday.
Located on Spring Avenue, the site has been part of the controversy that’s surrounded the Rensselaer County Board of Elections’ selection of early voting sites.
“When I first heard we only had three sites, and they were all pretty rural, except for this one, I really was shocked. I really think there need to be more that are downtown or on the bus routes,” Pattison said.
Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit last month against the BOE, accusing the board of violating the state’s election law by not providing easy access to early voting for all Troy residents.
A judge agreed with James, and told the board to find an additional polling location in the heart of the Collar City by Wednesday. The BOE appealed that decision, and after an unsuccessful attempt from the AG’s office to block the appeal, a hearing in the case won’t be heard until after the primaries have concluded.
“I’m optimistic that we will prevail at some point, but I am always cautiously optimistic,” Troy NAACP President Renee Powell said during a protest outside the BOE Friday.
In a statement, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections said in part, “The board believes it complied with Election Law Section 8-600 and the corresponding regulation.”
With the pending appeal, the county’s early voting plan is continuing as planned, with sites at Holy Cross Armenian Church, Schodack Town Hall, and the Town of Brunswick Office Building.
Registered voters can also apply for and fill out an absentee ballot at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections located inside the county office building in downtown Troy.