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Voting: What’s New? What should you know?

by WayneTimes.com
October 12, 2019

In an attempt to update what are felt to be antiquated voting/election laws, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic-led legislature have passed twenty-four new reforms affecting this November’s Election. (November 5, 2019)

Speaking with Deputy Election Commissioners in Wayne County, Kelley Borrelli and Joyce Krebbeks, the voters will have much to digest.

Why are these changes being enacted? “The Democrats pushed for it in preparation for the Presidential Election year - 2020,” explained Krebbeks. “They hope that it will encourage a better voter turnout and eliminate any barriers to getting out to the polls.”

The biggest notable change for this year’s election is - Early Voting! For those voters not able to make their way to the polls on just one day in November, there are now 9 days before Election Day to get in to vote early, and be done, and counted.

EARLY VOTING:

Beginning on Saturday, October 26th Wayne County registered voters are invited to vote at the Wayne County Board of Election in Lyons (only polling location in the County for early voting) to cast their early ballot.

In Wayne County, there is only ONE polling location for Early Voting. The Board of Elections will have voting booths and inspectors available from October 26th until November 3rd (The Sunday prior to the November 5th Election Day) at their offices only.  The Wayne County Board of Elections is located at 7376 State Route 31, Lyons NY 14489. If you are voting on a weekend or evening, voters are asked to use the east side entrance door to access the office.

Deputy Commissioners Borrelli and Krebbeks remind voters, that if you choose to vote early, you will NOT be allowed to vote at the polls on Election day. With Sunday, November 3rd as the last day of Early Voting, the Board of Elections will mark - in red - all voters who have “Voted Early”, in the signature box of the registration books sent to polling location for November 5th election day.

The official Early Voting hours and dates for the 2019 General Election will be:

Sat., Oct. 26 9am-2pm

Sun., Oct. 27 9am-2pm

Mon., Oct. 28 9am-5pm

Tues, Oct. 29 9am-8pm

Wed., Oct. 30 9am-8pm

Thurs., Oct. 31 9am-5pm

Fri., Nov. 1 9am-5pm

Sat., Nov. 2 9am-2pm

Sun., Nov. 3 9am-2pm

In Wayne County, these are the only times for early voting, and only at the B.O.E. in Lyons. Voters may also obtain an Absentee Ballot to mail in, if that is what they wish to do.

PRIMARY CONSOLIDATION

Next up for reforms - and this began this year - is a major change in the political calendar in New York. While there has always been a Federal Primary in June in New York State, the State always held its Primary in September.

In 2019, the Primary Date was set to  the 4th Tuesday in June for both Federal and State Primaries (not including Presidential Primaries). This consolidation was seen as a money savings measure - reducing the use of election inspectors and polling locations, as well as extra work for election officials with two primaries.

The earlier Primary date in June 2019, caused some confusion, and, in a few instances, did not allow enough time for independent lines. Some town caucuses were held after the last date to file an for an independent line.

One advantage in getting many of these reforms passed this year, is the demographics of a Democrat-heavy legislature in a very “Blue” State. Wayne County continues to be strongly Republican leaning.

VOTING REGISTRATION: 

There is no longer a requirement or need to re-register if you move to another county or address within the State. Your registration will automatically follow you to your new County. This is for registered voters. You still have to be registered to vote, and those coming from outside the State, must register to vote in New York State.

Again, this is an attempt to empower voters to exercise their right to vote, with fewer restrictions.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Twenty-four other proposals have passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly and are awaiting transmittal to the Executive Chamber for consideration.

Voting by Mail, and Same Day Registration are vigorously being promoted by downstate Democrats.

As it stands now a reform to allow same day changes of party affiliation has passed. A person may change their party registration as many times as they wish. However, no changes would be allowed between February 14, and 7 days after the June primary each year.

Borrelli and Krebbeks indicated that this change could be made for any of the eight recognized parties in New York State (Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Working Families, Green, Libertarian, Independence,  and SAM).

To change your party affiliation, register to vote, or to update the information you have on file with the Board of Elections you can use the NYS Voter Registration Form. Updated information could include your new name, new address, or changing a party enrollment. You may also register directly at the Wayne County Board of Elections.

No Excuse Absentee Ballot is also being considered and would take a change to the New York State Constitution.

Now, in New York, you must have a specific reason to vote an absentee ballot.  Reasons include: (1) being absent from your county on Election Day, (2) temporary illness or physical disability, (3) permanent illness or  physical disability, (4) duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled, (5) being a patient or inmate in a Veterans Administration Hospital, or, (6) being detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined to prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

A change to this law would eliminate any of the requirements listed, you could just request the Absentee ballot, with no excuse. The last day to postmark an absentee ballot application is seven days before the election.  The voted  absentee ballot must be postmarked the day before the election (Nov 4) and received at the Board of Elections no later than November 12 for this year. Absentee ballots are available in person up to the day before the election.

ELECTION INSPECTORS ARE IN HIGH DEMAND!

There is always a shortage of trained Election Inspectors for Wayne County elections. The number needed is based on the number of districts in a town. In Wayne County there is a need for about 302 inspectors.  The Board of Elections will probably run with the minimum of 268 this year, with Inspector Training just ending on Friday. But, Borrelli and Krebbeks urge voters to help out in 2020 with the Presidential election.

The requirements to become an Election Inspector are: (1) be a registered voter, (2) 18 years of age or older (3) You may not be related to any candidate for the race you are covering (4) You must have reliable transportation, (5) ability to read, write and speak English. The job runs for 16 hours on Election Day (6 am til 10pm). A person is paid $25 to attend the Election Inspector School, and if you pass the exam at the end of class, you are paid a flat rate of $150 for a Primary Election, and $240 for a General Election. We encourage inspectors willing to travel, as you may not always be working in your own town.

The new regulations and reforms will be a challenge for the Wayne County Board of Elections staff, especially next year with the Presidential Election, but Kelley, who has served the Board of Elections for 19 years, and Joyce for 22 years, will just be doing the outstanding job they have done for all these years.

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