SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — In under a week, the last ballots will be cast on election day. However, many people are deciding to get a head start on participating in this year’s election. Onondaga County is no exception.
“About 16,500 people have already voted early in the first three days,” said Dustin Czarny, Onondaga County Election Commissioner (D). “That’s about 900 an hour that we’ve been processing.”
If that rate holds through the rest of this week’s early voting, Onondaga County will see about 60,000 people vote early. That adds up to about one-fifth of the county’s total voting population, a significant increase from previous year’s totals.
“There is no comparison, I mean last year was 8,000 early votes, 3,000 absentees, so it’s not even close to a comparison,” Czarny said.
Onondaga County has seen such a large increase in early voting that the polling places are starting to feel the pressure. The wait times at Dewitt Town Hall averaged about an hour on Tuesday, yet voters kept lining up.
“Well, I just wanted to get in. You can tell I have voted in a lot of elections. I just wanted to make sure it was counted,” said Amalia Mills, an Onondaga County voter. “I just thought to myself that if I was at the end of this line on the third of November, I’d be in a panic. I’d probably be there all night.”
With such long lines at each early voting site, even the voters themselves were awestruck by the overwhelming amount of early participation this year.
“I’m impressed by the number of people out,” said Michael Okoniewski, an Onondaga County voter. “Maybe this time, the United States will have greater than 45% participation of eligible voters. It sure looks like it.”
With less than a week until election day, officials want to remind voters that absentee ballots can still be picked up in-person until Nov. 2.