Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — On Saturday, Onondaga County residents will be able to vote early as we inch closer to one of the most highly anticipated elections.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the early voting process will look a little different compared to last year. Masks must be worn inside the polling sites, social distancing must be adhered to, and poll site workers will sanitize each voting both after a voter has used one.
“We have six-foot distance lines, wearing a mask and sanitizing everything,” Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said. “Other than that, it’s still going to be pretty much the same. You’re still voting on a paper ballot, you’re still scanning it into the same machine.”
Other than the pandemic, there have been problems with early voting systems in other states. New York State mandates that no voter wait more than 30 minutes to cast their ballot. Some voters have had to wait in lines for close to 12 hours in order to vote early in some states across the country.
Based on past history, the county has done a good job of keeping the lines short. With six early voting poll sites in Onondaga County, Czarny is hopeful that people will not have to wait long.
“We have an efficient system set up, but we’re ready to roll resources into those systems if we’re noticing a slowdown,” Czarny said.
Republican Elections Commissioner Michele Sardo is also confident in the county’s plans.
“We’re always prepared. We have a great staff here to make sure everything is all set and all-ready to go in a timely fashion,” Sardo said.
Both Czarny and Sardo also emphasized that you can vote by absentee ballot in early voting. Unfortunately, those that have not registered to vote already will not be able to cast a ballot, but they can file a court order and explain why they missed the voter registration deadline.
If you have any questions regarding early voting, you can contact the Onondaga County Board of Elections at (315) 435-8683, or visit the New York State Board of Elections website.