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Yates County votes early and in person

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

More than 2.5 million voted in-person statewide

PENN YAN — Yates County places in the top 10 of N.Y. counties for early voting as a percentage of registered voters, say county election officials; a record they did not expect.

Early voters lined up around the building, showing up in record numbers in Penn Yan.

Each day of the nine-day early voting period saw hundreds turn out at the county office building on Liberty St. in Penn Yan.

Oct. 24: 394

Oct. 25: 296

Oct. 26: 436

Oct. 27: 482

Oct. 28: 323

Oct. 29: 383

Oct. 30: 310

Oct. 31: 163

Nov. 1: 224

Total: 3,011

Election Commissioner Bob Brechko reports that is 20.68% of registered voters who chose to vote early in-person, placing “Little Yates” in the top 10 of N.Y.’s 62 counties.

The five lowest counties were:

St. Lawrence: 7.36%

Jefferson: 7.53%

Essex: 9.12%

Oswego: 9.56%

Franklin: 9.81%

To the early voting figures for Yates can be added the 1,614 absentee ballots returned so far from the 2,081 applications received by the Board of Elections. Absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3 will continue to be accepted until next Tuesday, by law.

About 2.51 million people cast an in-person ballot during the early voting period this year, which marked the first time the state utilized the system in a presidential election. That accounts for about 18.5% of the 13.6 million total registered voters in the state.

At 9 a.m. Oct. 24, the line in Penn Yan stretched from the front of the county building all the way to Court St. The longest wait, once the doors opened, was approximately 30 minutes. In New York City, some voters waited for two hours or more to cast their ballot. Under state law, every New York county was required to have a minimum of one to seven early voting sites, depending on the number of registered voters. Several larger counties had more than the minimum required, including Erie County with 37 early voting sites, and New York City with 88.

But New York lagged behind other large states including Texas, which had more than 9 million ballots cast prior to Tuesday, surpassing the total number of votes cast in 2016. Florida had more than 8 million voters cast a write-in or in-person ballot prior to Election Day, which is more than 50% of registered voters, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Both states have had early voting in prior presidential elections. Unlike many states, NY does not break down its early voting data by party registration, only by the total number of votes cast.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers first approved early voting last year after Democrats took control of the state Senate, giving the party a majority in both houses of the state legislature.

Includes reporting by Jon Campbell.