ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are seven early voting locations in Monroe County, chosen by commissioners on the county board of elections, and only one of these locations is in downtown Rochester. That concerns some city voters.
“Way too few this is a big city with lots of different neighborhoods, with lots of different kinds people in it and they all need to have access to the vote because that really important,” said Harold Clark, a Rochester resident.
“If we want to have our votes, then we have to have the whole city be there. It can’t be one part of it, can’t have just the suburbs can’t have just the city, we have to all come together,” said Jameek Robartson, a Rochester citizen.
A spokesperson for the county said they have received no complaints about the polling locations and that board of elections was one of the first in the state to set its number of locations.
At this time they plan to provide training on using polling equipment.
The city wants more. In a statement Mayor Lovely Warren said;
“In this day and age, we need to make it easier to vote, not harder. Early voting allows people to participate in our elections while balancing work schedules, family and other demands on their time. Particularly, many City residents face such challenges. That’s why it’s unacceptable that there is only one early voting location in Rochester. As a community of over 200,000 residents, our City deserves adequate and equal access to early voting locations. I hope that the Board of Elections revisits this issue and ensures everyone has the chance to exercise their right to vote.”
Leaders with the University of Rochester committee for political engagement agree. They say students face many challenges with activities and transportation and more accessibility would help student voters.
“Really the only opportunities for students to leave class and do early voting is on weekend and the number of hours that those voting sites actually have is already restricting enough,” said Ian Krager, voter outreach chair with the committee for political engagement.
At the time, there are no plans from the county to increase the number of locations.
This fall’s election will be the first in New York’s State history to allow early voting. Voters will be able to cast ballots from October 26 through November 3.