Costs & Trends of Early Voting

More than 50% of voters are 65 or older


Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Midway through early voting in Erie County and a couple of trends are developing.

"The vast majority of people taking advantage of early voting are age 65 or older. Over half of voters fall within that age group," said Erie County Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr. 

After four days of early voting, 11,804, or approximately 2% of eligible voters had cast ballots.  

"We suspect many of the people would have turned up on election day, but it's certainly more convenient."  Mohr said when you look at the time of day people are exercising their right to vote, it's falling around the noon hour and the dinner hour. "It's something we suspected all along," he said.

There are 37 early voting sites in Erie County. That's the most of any county in the state. There is one polling place in each municipality and one in each council district in Buffalo.  It's a stark contrast when compared to Niagara County which has 2 early voting locations. 

The cost of early voting in Erie county is estimated at two million dollars.  "We've been able to secure about 1.8 million dollars in grants," said Mohr.

The largest cost is implementation of the system and the purchase of additional voting machines as well as electronic poll books. Mohr said those are one-time costs. Rental of polling places and inspector costs will be on-going costs.  A review of early voting will be done after the election to see if it increased turnout or not.  

WBEN wanted to know if early voting results will be posted separate from general election results.  "They're not posted until 9pm on election day," said Mohr who added, "the results will come in as one big lump (both early voting and election day results)."

No one in Erie County is keeping a running tally of the vote.  "Even if an inspector or a group of inspectors or a board employee attempted to determine the results of as right now, they would be unable to do so. The machine will not tabulate until 9pm on Tuesday.

Early voting hours are from noon - 9pm through Friday, November 1 and from noon - 6pm Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3.  Check HERE for a list of early voting locations.



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