SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – This year every registered voter has three options to get their ballot in, early voting, absentee voting or normal election day voting. Onondaga County Election Commissioner Dustin Czarny said absentee voting will cause a delay in final results.
“While on election night we release all our in person and early voting totals, absentee won’t be counting until at least a week to two weeks after the election,” Czarny said.
The absentee ballots will be no small feat to count. In the primary election, more than half of voters submitted an absentee ballot; they sent out 26,000 ballots and 41,000 total people voted in that election. For the November election, they expect to send out 125,000 absentee ballots in the county. Czarny said they already have 30,000 ballot requests.
“People can safely vote at home, which is great, but they have to take more care. They have to be able to apply now, so we can send them a ballot now,” Czarny said.
During the primary they saw a record voter turnout and Czarny said he thinks that is indicative of what they will see in November. But, Czarny said you have to be sure you don’t make mistakes on your absentee registration.
“The two most common mistakes are either not sending it in on time, after the post mark date, which is surprising that it happens, but it does, that is the most common mistake. The second most common mistake is forgetting to sign the back of the absentee envelope,” Czarny said.
If you plan on submitting an absentee ballot by mail, there are some dates to keep in mind. An application should be mailed by October 21 and the ballot itself by October 27. And amidst all the uncertainty with the United States Postal Service, Czarny said that is not a concern in Central New York.
“We’ve met with the managers at the North Syracuse Post Offices, which serves the entire Central New York area and we have had assurances from them that if people are mailing in their ballot, it should not be a problem,” Czarny said.
But if you still feel unsure about mailing in your ballot, you can drop it off in a ballot bag at the board of elections office, or at any voting sight.
“People can skip the line, drop the ballot in the bag and leave, limiting your exposure but also being able to hand deliver your absentee ballot,” Czarny said.
Czarny says voters can check their absentee ballot status online at onvote.net and if you have not registered for an absentee ballot yet, you can also do that the website. For more questions about voting you can call (315) 435-VOTE.