How does early voting work?

Updated: Oct. 9, 2019 at 1:45 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - This upcoming election will be the first time New Yorkers can vote early and the Jefferson County Board of Elections is holding four informational sessions to tell people what it's all about.

The first one is Wednesday at the Philadelphia Fire Hall at 7 p.m.

Starting this general election, voters won't have to wait until Election Day to cast their ballot. Early voting will be available for the first time in New York.

"There's a lot of unknowns. We were talking about in this office about how many people we expect to get for early voting and the answers have arranged from 50 to 1,777 so we have literally no idea," said Jefferson County Republican Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour.

Early voting will start on Saturday, October 26 and run for 9 consecutive days. Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties' boards of elections will each have one polling place where registered voters from any district can go to vote.

Voting early will work the same way as voting on Election Day. But, elections commissioner point out you can only vote once.

"If they vote during the early voting process, they will not be able to vote again on Election Day and they will be flagged that they already voted. So you vote once and that's it," said Jefferson County Democratic Elections Commissioner Babette Hall.

Something else new for north country voters this year - there are now electronic poll books so when you go to check in at your poll site, instead of signing a paper book, you'll now be signing an electronic tablet."

"They're taking place of the old poll books. The paper books where the inspector had to look through the pages of the poll book and find the voter's name and this is, they'll just actually put in a couple of letters of their last name and a couple of letters of their first name and it will bring that voter up," said Hall.

And while elections commissioners aren't sure exactly how many early voters to expect this first time around, they hope people will take the opportunity.

"We want to get the word out to people, let them know the legislature has passed it, it's here, let's use it. We're going to spend money on it either way, let's use it," said

Seymour. "We've got nights, we've got weekends, we've got during the week, regular 9-5 type weekdays. So we have a size that fits somebody. If you're a corrections officer who's working a double or if you're a nurse that got called in on a shift unexpectedly or you're pregnant and the baby is coming any single day from now, this is an opportunity for you to come out when it's convenient for you."

In order to vote at all, you have to be registered by this Friday.

In Jefferson County, there will be early voting on the 2nd floor of the County Office Building in Watertown.

In Lewis County, it will be held at the Lowville Town and Village Offices and in St. Lawrence County it will be at the Board of Elections office in Canton.

Here are the hours the polling places will be open:

Jefferson County:

October 26 (Saturday) 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

October 27 (Sunday) 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

October 28 (Monday) 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

October 29 (Tuesday) 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

October 30 (Wednesday) 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

October 31 (Thursday) 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

November 1 (Friday) 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

November 2 (Saturday) 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

November 3 (Sunday) 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

St. Lawrence County:

Saturday October 26th 2019 9AM to 2PM

Sunday October 27th 2019 9AM to 2PM

Monday October 28th 2019 9AM to 5PM

Tuesday October 29th 2019 9AM to 8PM

Wednesday October 30th 2019 9AM to 8PM

Thursday October 31st 2019 9AM to 5PM

Friday November 1st 2019 9AM to 5PM

Saturday November 2nd 2019 9AM to 2PM

Sunday November 3rd 2019 9AM to 2PM

Lewis County:

Saturday October 26, 9-2

Saturday October 27, 9-2

Monday October 28, 9-5

Tuesday October 29, 12-8

Wednesday October 30, 12-8

Thursday October 31, 9-5

Friday November 1, 9-5

Saturday November 2, 9-2

Sunday November 3, 9-2

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