Polling place changes prompt mixed reaction

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT
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TOWN OF ORLEANS, New York (WWNY) - With the Jefferson County Board of Elections’ decision to pause 5 polling places, comes reaction. Residents in three smaller communities may be traveling further to cast a ballot.

With the closure of five polling places across Jefferson County, residents are being alerted by the Board of Elections as to what options they have available to them to cast their ballot in June’s primary and in the general election this fall.

“The people that were affected by the one-year closure in Fishers Landing were just sent a letter. It outlines all the options that’s available to them; absentee ballot, early voting, and voting in LaFargeville,” said Jude Seymour, Republican commissioner at the Jefferson County Board of Elections.

It’s a decision that not all are on board with.

In a statement to 7 News, Orleans Town Supervisor Kevin Rarick said he is disturbed by the lack of discussion from the board of elections. “We have an aging population and it will be a hardship to ask our registered voters to travel an additional 8 or so miles to vote in LaFargeville. It will be especially difficult for our Wellesley Island voters to travel the extra miles,” he said.

Citizens in Fishers Landing will now be moved to voting at the town of Orleans offices.

Natural Bridge residents, also affected by the pause, will have to head to the Church of the Nazarene in Carthage.

Voters who used to choose their candidates at the Felts Mills Fire Hall will now need to travel to the town of Rutland offices.

“The constituents, they didn’t see it as a huge deal. They understand why they did it. Yeah, it will be a little bit of an inconvenience but it’s only like a 10-minute, 15-minute drive from the current polling place,” said Jennifer Bossout, Rutland town board member.

Bossout says that a variety of new ways to vote may be why residents she’s talked to are not as worried as they once would have been about their ballots.

“The feedback that I received is, voting now is a lot easier than it was 10 years ago with earlier voting and way to get absentees online. There’s also opportunities for residents to call candidates to get a ride to the polls,” she said.

Elections officials say that people who are affected by the closures can expect to receive a letter within the next two weeks with information on their options for where to vote.