New Legislation Clears the Way for Early Voting. With elections a week away, New Yorkers are approaching the polls a bit differently this time around thanks to a bill passed in January which authorized “early voting” for the first time in New York State. State lawmakers and champions of the bill say the change to the state’s voting process will increase voter turnout and shift the way political hopefuls structure their campaigns in the future. According to the New York State Senate’s website, the bill mandates that, “beginning the tenth day prior to any election and ending on and including the second day prior to the election a person duly registered and eligible to vote shall be permitted to vote.” thus designating this year the first time eligible voters will be able to cast an in-person vote at a polling site, prior to election day. Limitations are still present as the inaugural year of early voting kicks off on October 26th in most places and lasts through November 3rd. In Columbia County NY for example, according to the town of Hillsdale’s October newsletter, voters have just three locations where they may cast an early vote. However, unlike the absentee ballot application, voters are not required to explain that they cannot vote on Election Day. Voters are reminded that if they indeed do decide to cast an early vote, they are not eligible to vote on Election Day which is Tuesday, November 5. Any registered voters who have decided not to vote early will continue to vote at their usual polling place on Election Day. Despite some contention, lawmakers and pollsters remain eager to see if the shift in the state voting process yields a higher turnout this year across the board.

To find out more dates and times regarding early voting in NY near you, visit your local Board of Elections.