ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As you plan to head out to the polls to cast your vote on election day, commissioners from both parties who oversee voting expect the process to be smooth thanks to staffing and training up to speed at every location.
But there are changes for this election cycle in Monroe County for when absentee ballots are counted what those who registered for it must do.
Election officials of Monroe County tell us they’ve hired around 3,000 poll workers this year for their 250 polling locations. Half republican and democrat. With all these resources in place, wait times are not expected to be long but there are new laws to know about before you head out.
Beginning this year, anyone who’s registered to vote absentee must follow through on voting that way. Results from this category are also being counted now to be presented with in-person results Tuesday night. Instead of a week later.
“If you have already asked for an absentee ballot you have to vote that way,” Republican Elections Commissioner Lisa Nicolay explained. “If you change your mind and go to a polling location you will be given an affidavit ballot which means it does not go into the machine. It goes into a secure envelope and comes back to the office. We do some research to make sure you didn’t already vote and then that would count.”
To calm any election security skepticism, commissioners from both sides explain there’s a bipartisan process to oversee and check every ballot or machine.
“Every ballot when it’s not being counted or reviewed is locked up with a bipartisan key,” Commissioner Nicolay continued. “Literally the Republicans have a key, and the Democrats have a key, you can’t get to the ballots with just one party. They are very secure; the building is very secure. Our polling locations have security at them.”
“All of the work that we are tasked with has to be double checked if you will,” Democrat Elections Commissioner Jackie Ortiz added. “So, if one of our team members is reviewing perhaps an old envelope, we’re reviewing the signatures on that envelope and then the second partner also has to come before it can be completely canvassed if you will.”
Compared to previous mid-terms, turnout for early voting and absentee appears higher. In Monroe County over 55,000 early votes were cast. So, election officials stress voters take advantage of the multiple options to cast a ballot.
“All the different opportunities voters have really is just that,” Commissioner Ortiz said. “Opportunities to cast their ballot in a convenient way for them. Whether that’s by absentee, early voting, or the tridiagonal on election day, I think really at the end of the day the turnout numbers will still be great.”
Remember polls open at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday and remain open until 9:00 p.m. But if you are already in line by then you’re entitled to get in to cast your vote.
If you do not know your polling location or are unsure if you’re caught up being registered, you can find out by logging onto your county’s website. Such as MonroeCounty.gov/elections.