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Long lines and eager voters as early voting begins

Early voting began in New York state on Saturday, and continues through Nov. 1,  two days before Election Day.

There were long lines when polls opened at 9 a.m.

At the Perinton Square Mall, Marshall DeMay said he was voting early because he feels he "pretty much got all the information I need to make a decision as to who I want to vote for."

"That’s why I'm kind of waiting this long, because now the debates are over with and pretty much everything that’s out there, and I think it’s a good time to make a decision and come out and vote in this point in time and get here before the huge, long lines are showing up," DeMay said.

The Perinton Square Mall had the most number of early voters on Saturday among the dozen sites in Monroe County, with 1,139 voters casting ballots.

People lined up around the block to cast ballots at the early voting site at the Gantt Community Center in Rochester on Saturday.
Credit April Franklin / WXXI News
People lined up around the block to cast ballots at the early voting site at the Gantt Community Center in Rochester on Saturday.

In Rochester, dozens of people marched from the Liberty Pole to go vote at the Gantt Community Center on North Street, where the line wound around the block, as it did in many locations.

The number of polling places vary from county to county, but each county is required to have at least one early voting polling site. In larger counties with multiple sites, one has to be in the largest urban area. Monroe County has a dozen sites available for early voting, and throughout the state, voters can vote at any of the early polling sites, not just the one nearest to their home.

You can also drop off absentee ballots at early voting sites.

The Monroe County Board of Elections says that the use of electronic poll pads will continue, which makes sure that voters can only vote once and cannot then go to another site and cast a ballot.

County elections officials say they are expecting a big turnout for the start of early voting, and they are taking steps to keep the flow of voters into the polling sites orderly when a lot of people show up at the various sites.

The Monroe County Board of Elections says that 9,506 voters took part in the first day of early voting on Saturday. That’s more than twice as many as showed up for early voting in June during the presidential primary. And for the general election in 2019, the first year of early voting in New York, the total number of early voters was 13,893.

Polls at some sites in Monroe County stayed open past the 3 p.m. closing time to make sure anyone in line could vote.

WXXI photojournalist Max Schulte talked with some early voters in Perinton on Saturday:

Early Voting Dates & Times in Monroe County for the Nov. 3 general election:

• Saturday, Oct. 24: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Sunday, Oct. 25: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Monday, Oct. 26: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 27: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 28: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 29: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

• Friday, Oct. 30: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 31: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Sunday, Nov. 1: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Early voting locations that will be open each date and time listed above:

• David F. Gantt Community Center,  700 North St., Rochester, NY 14605.

• City of Rochester Recreation Bureau, second floor, 57 St. Paul St., Rochester, NY 14604.

• Genesee Valley Field House, 1316 Genesee St., Rochester, NY 14611.

• Edgerton Recreation Center, 41 Backus St., Rochester, NY 14608.

• SUNY Empire State College, 680 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY 14620.

• Town of Chili Senior Center, 3235 Chili Ave., Rochester, NY 14624.

• North Greece Road Church of Christ, 1039 N. Greece Road, Rochester, NY 14626.

• Marketplace Mall, north entrance, 1 Miracle Mile Drive, Rochester, NY 14623.

• Irondequoit Public Library, 1290 Titus Ave., Rochester, NY 14617.

• Harris-Whalen Park Lodge, 2126 Penfield Road, Penfield, NY 14526.

• Perinton Square Mall, 6720 Pittsford Palmyra Road, Fairport, NY 14450.

• Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, Webster, NY 14580.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
Max Schulte is responsible for creating video and photo elements for WXXI News and its digital spaces. He also assists with news and public affairs coverage, digital-first video content, and studio productions.
April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.