Early voting available this year in St. Lawrence County
Sunday, August 18, 2019 - 8:51 am

BY ANDY GARDNER

North Country This Week

CANTON -- St. Lawrence County voters will be able to participate in early voting from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 this year.

The St. Lawrence County legislature voted Aug. 5 to spend $293,700 on the technology to make early voting happen, and to upgrade their voting machines for Election Day.

To participate in early voting, registered voters can go to the Board of Elections from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 and 3; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 31, and Nov. 1; and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31.

St. Lawrence County Republican Election Commissioner Tom Nichols told the county board that this year, there will be just the one early voting site, but they may add more for the 2020 presidential election if things go well. He said Democratic Commissioner Jennie Bacon agreed with that.

"Jennie and I have agreed to early voting this year because the concept is new ... everything is moving along very quickly ... we don't want to step in the deep water until we learn how to swim,” Nichols said.

"We don't want to roll anything new out in 2020 when we have a presidential election and all that craziness,” Bacon told the board.

Nichols said early voting is “very complex” with multiple polling places.

"Wherever you have additional early voting sites, they have to be connected not only with electronic pollbooks but with real time connectivity to make sure nobody votes in more than one place,” he said.

How it works

To participate in early voting, registered voters will have to appear in person at the Board of Elections, which is on the second floor of the Human Services Building, 80 State Highway 310, Canton. They will have to show up during the hours listed earlier in this story.

“Voting during early voting is the same as voting on Election Day. When you get to the County Board of Elections office to vote, you will check in, receive your ballot, and vote as in any other election,” according to a news release from the Board of Elections.

Absentee ballots will still be available for those who will be out of the county on Election Day, are disabled, or incarcerated for anything other than a felony.

People who need more information on early voting, absentee ballots or the election in general can contact the county board elections by phone at 315-379-2202 or go to their website at www.votestlawrence.org. The state Board of Elections phone is 518-474-1953 and their website can be found at www.elections.ny.gov

New voting machines

Along with the upgrades to implement early voting, the county board voted to lease new voting machines.

"The voting machines we currently use are in their 13th year,” Nichols told the board. Our concern is we want to make sure we don't get a headline for machines that are starting to wear out in a presidential year.”

He recommended the lease because both the technology and state requirements change rapidly, and if they buy the machines they’ll have to get rid of them too. Right now, they have 70 out-of-date voting machines to dispose of.