ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On June 23rd, New Yorkers will cast ballots for primaries in the state legislature and the U.S. presidency, as well as a special election for voters in New York’s 27th Congressional district.
Fewer polling sites than normal will be used, many of which are residential buildings, according to LaShana Boose, the Monroe County Democratic Board of Elections commissioner. Boose told News 8 the changes are in line with state guidelines, and aren’t unique to this area.
“All board of elections have been impacted on how they administer elections,” said Boose, “putting us in a very peculiar situation to reduce the number of sites statewide. So this is not something that’s just specific to Monroe County, this is something we’ve seen statewide.”
Early voting and absentee voting are also available to voters. Boose says there has already been a high volume of absentee applications for the primary.
“We have processed over 52,000 applications, just for this upcoming primary, where it was only about 257,000 voters that are eligible to vote in this primary,” said Boose.
Monroe County’s website provides a portal for voters to find their nearest polling site.
Vince Felder (D), a Monroe County lawmaker, told News 8 the reduction in polling locations is an unfortunate reality of voting in this year’s primary.
“We’re in a very unique situation this year because of this pandemic,” said Felder. “It has changed everything, and unfortunately one of the things that’s changed is the way we’re going to have to vote this year.”
Los Flamboyanes, a polling site used in last year’s general election, won’t be used for this year’s primary. Hilda Rosario Escher, a Democratic candidate for the 56th New York State Senate seat, argued voters, many of them elderly, rely on the neighborhood site and will have to quickly change plans.
“That’s making it difficult for our community to vote, by having less voting places,” Rosario Escher told News 8.
“The right to vote doesn’t disappear in a pandemic. In the senate majority, I’ll fight for more local funding to increase voter access, especially for our neighbors challenged by mobility,” said Jeremy Cooney, a Democrat also running for the 56th seat, in correspondence with News 8.
“Although I understand the issues around Covid-19 and concerns for people’s health… I am very concerned about voters who are already marginalized being further disenfranchised because they won’t have access to their normal polling sites on Tuesday,” said Sherita Traywick, a candidate for the 56th seat, in correspondence with News 8.