To: Larry Barmore, Chair
Administrative Services Committee
I apologize for not being available to appear in person to speak in favor of early voting. I note that your agenda contain an item "Opposing Proposed NYS Legislation A.689/S.1461 Establishing Early Voting for General, Primary and Special Elections."
I am writing in behalf of the more than 80,000 voters of Chautauqua County who deserve and desire every expanded opportunity to vote. Currently 32 states allow voters to cast votes "early" before Election Day. About one third of all votes cast in the United States this past election were cast as part of early voting programs. Sadly, none of those early votes were cast in New York State.
Early voting is a process where voters in Chautauqua County will be able to vote on a series of days prior to General, Special and Primary elections. Early voting, under the bills' proposal, will take place at four locations and the Board of Elections. If enacted by NYS, Brian and I have talked about locations in the Jamestown-Lakewood Fairmount Avenue shopping district, Dunkirk-Fredonia Brigham Road shopping district, Charlotte and Findley Lake to give balance as well as Mayville. The length of time for early voting in the bill is three weeks before the elections. The time will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. We will not need to staff the Mayville voting facility, as we are already here for the most part and will be able to handle the workload with flex scheduling. While I once espoused a much smaller figure, Brian Abram and I agree that the cost to enact this will exceed $30,000 per election.
Editor's note: This e-mail was sent on Wednesday, June 11 in response to a resolution before the Administrative Services Committee on Monday, June 17 that opposes early voting for county voters.
The cost is the bad news. The good news is that we will be able to expand our delivery of voting to our taxpayers at not too high of a cost. Additionally, this will decrease the Election Day work load at the poll sites and we will be able to long term reduce the number of workers at each poll site. The poll worker reduction is being facilitated by a bill in the Legislature that has much bi-partisan support and will increase the size of election districts due to capacity increases with the new voting machines. And less voters who will need our service on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
In conclusion, be assured that your Board of Elections will continue to provide cost effective elections for the voters of our county. This budgetary item is not significant to as a cost for delivering increased service. I am confident we will realize final total cost savings and expanded service delivery.
Please do not support this CCL resolution.
Norman P. Green
Chautauqua County Election Commissioner