Suffolk prepares for early voting
SUFFOLK COUNTY—A list of locations within the county have been designated for early voting in the upcoming general election. One of them is the Islip Town Hall Annex, located at 401 Main Street in Islip.
Polls will be open on Oct. 26 and 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Oct. 28 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Oct. 29 and Nov. 1 from 12 to 8 p.m.; Oct. 30 and 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Nov. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Early voting will not be available for the June 25 primary this year.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved a series of reforms intended to make it easier for residents to vote. One of the measures requires that officials establish 10 days of early voting that concludes two days prior to the election and includes two weekends. Another closed the LLC loophole, a move that looks to limit corporations’ ability to open limited liability companies and make nearly unlimited political campaign contributions.
“At a time when the federal government is doing everything it can to disenfranchise voters, we are taking action to make it easier for New Yorkers to participate in the democratic process and crack down on corporate influences in our election,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a statement earlier this year.
The bills easily passed both chambers with bipartisan support. But the move still drew some criticism, mostly from Republicans, who had concerns about the cost of manning polling stations for the 10 additional days and the potential for voter fraud.
Supporters, on the other hand, say early voting will increase voter turnout. New York ranked among the worst 10 states, in regards to turnout, during both the 2016 and 2018 elections. These numbers, according to reports, continued a longstanding trend of lower-than-average voter participation within the state.
The reforms also require that officials automatically update voter registrations for anyone who moves, and beginning in 2020, allows young adults to preregister to vote when they are 16 or 17 years old. Younger voters’ registration will be marked as pending until their 18th birthday when they will be able to vote.
Suffolk County Legislature presiding officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Wyandanch) said reforms like these are “vital” in helping more individuals become involved in the election process.
“For far too long, people have been disenfranchised by limiting voting to one day per year,” Gregory wrote in a statement. “The more opportunity people have to participate, the more they will. Allowing early voting and extending the number of days and times to vote will address low voter turnout and bring more people into the process.”
Gregory’s office points out that as part of the package of reforms, state and federal primaries must be scheduled on the same day. Up until last year, New York was the only state in the country to hold federal and state primaries on different days and one of the only 12 states without early voting.
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