New Yorkers turned out to the polls in higher numbers on Monday than they did either day over this past weekend as nearly one million votes have been cast since Saturday.
All together, there have been 997,171 people who have cast their ballot the first four days of early voting, according to the most recent numbers from the state Board of Elections. This is more than 5% of the 11.7 million registered voters in New York.
However, many polling sites across the state saw hour plus long wait lines.
The state has an election law which requires that “county boards shall deploy sufficient voting equipment, election workers, and other resources so that voter waiting time at a poll site does not exceed 30 minutes.”
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and Ulster County Legislative Chairman Dave Donaldson wrote a letter to the Ulster County Board of Elections, asking that early voting hours be extended throughout the county.
“In Ulster County, we have seen a tremendous surge in early voting participation. The good news is that in just three days we have surpassed all early votes cast in 2019. However, this unprecedented increase in early voting has also resulted in many having to wait hours just to cast their ballots.”
A few areas have already chosen to expand their early voting hours.
Onondaga County Board of Elections has extended its poll hours to 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this upcoming weekend
Schenectady County will also extend its closing times an hour on Saturday and Sunday and run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m
Westchester County Board of Elections will keep early-voting locations open an extra hour each night, up until 9 p.m.
And early voting in New York City will now take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday-Saturday. Also on October 31, Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
State Election officials in August called for around $50 million to help supplement early voting sites, count absentee ballots, and more.
John Conklin, director of public information at the State Board of Elections on Monday explained that early voting, “It’s designed to be a supplement to Election Day, not a substitute for Election Day. The local boards did what they could to bring additional resources over the weekend to sort of mitigate the lines but there are limits to what they can do.”
However, other counties are also already starting to consider expanding early voting hours for the weekend ahead.
The last day of early voting is November 1.