Early Voting Polls are Far From Rural Residents

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20 to 60+ Mile Trip for Some Local County Voters

HERKIMER–Heading into New York’s inaugural season for early voting, rural residents will have to drive a long distance.

Herkimer County’s only early voting poll site will be at the county office building in Herkimer–a 65-mile drive from the county’s northern Town of Webb.

Otsego County’s sole early voting poll site will be at the Meadows Office Complex in Cooperstown–an approximate 40-mile drive northeast of Unadilla.

The state’s early voting requirements mandate counties have at least one poll site per 50,000 registered voters, and sites be open for the full-term of early voting: October 26 – November 3rd.

Herkimer and Otsego County elections officials say they don’t have enough registered voters or means to have a second early poll site open

“WE COULDN’T JUST DO 2 OR 3 DAYS A TIME.”
QUESTION: AND THAT WAS BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH POLL WORKERS FOR THAT?
“WELL, WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH POLL WORKERS TO GO FULL-TIME THERE TO DO TEN DAYS OF EARLY VOTING IN WEBB.”

Herkimer County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Kim Tranter in an interview with Eyewitness News Reporter Ben Dennis

Oneida County presents a different scenario–three early voting poll sites:

  • The Rome YMCA
  • The Westmoreland Fire Hall
  • New Hartford’s new Town Hall (Formerly Gander Mountain)

Though the county has additional early voting poll sites, the northern municipality of Boonville, is still over 20 miles from the nearest poll site in Rome.

In addition to these challenges, county elections boards have another adjustment. They will use electronic poll books–said to ensure no one can vote again, come the general election on November 5th.

“Then when they sign in, we will have an on-demand ballot printer which will then print their specific voting districts’ ballot. So, we don’t have to keep a stock pile of early ballots, just for early voting, because there’s really no way to know how many people actually will partake,” Herkimer County Democratic Elections Commissioner Anthony Fumarola.

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