Early voting could cost Orleans $55k

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The state may require counties to open polling places two weeks before a general election and a week before a primary. That proposal could cost Orleans County $55,000 a year.

“I don’t see the need for this in Orleans County,” said Janice Grabowski, a county elections commissioner.

If residents want to vote early or if they can’t get to the polls on election day, the Board of Elections will send them an absentee ballot, Grabowski said.

County legislators on March 27 opposed the push by the state require early voting.

The state may require Orleans to offer early voting at five sites at 12 hours per day for up to two weeks before an election. Each site needs four election inspectors – two Republicans and two Democrats.

Dennis Piedimonte, the other county election commissioner, said it would be difficult to find staff for the polling places for over two weeks.

He expects the county will be required to offer early voting. If the legislation goes through, he hopes the county can have one polling place for early voters, instead of five spots. If Orleans provides one voting place, the expense to the county would be $11,000, not $55,000.

Legislators, in their resolution, asked the state to allow an “opt-in” provision for counties. The state also should foot the bill for the added costs, legislators said.

Downstate legislators are pushing the early voting legislation, trying to boost ballots for primaries and the general election. Thirty-two other states allow early voting.