HUDSON–Early voting is an option offered to all registered voters in Columbia County for the first time this year. Voting will be available for nine days, from Saturday, October 26 through Sunday, November 3 at three locations in Hudson, Valatie and Copake.
The locations are:
• Columbia County Office Building, 401 State Street, Hudson
• Martin H Glynn Municipal Building, Valatie
• Copake Town Hall, 230 Mountain View Road, Copake.
According to the county Board of Elections, registered voters do not need to go to the site closest to their residence for early voting. Voters may select any of the three sites.
Early voting dates and times at all three sites are:
• Saturday, October 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Sunday, October 27, noon to 5 p.m.
• Monday, October 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, October 29, noon to 8 p.m.
• Wednesday, October 30, noon to 8 p.m.
•Thursday, October 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Friday, November 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Sunday, November 3, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Voters who choose to vote early are not eligible to vote again on Election Day, November 5. Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Jason Nastke stressed this point in a phone interview with The Columbia Paper Wednesday, October 2. “Once you vote, you do not get a chance to re-vote,” he said.
Mr. Nastke also said the county is updating some of it’s technology this year. During early voting voters will sign in on an electronic poll book as well as the traditional poll book.
Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin, also reached by phone Wednesday, said that there would be one electronic poll book–an iPad–for people to sign at the early polling sites and one at each polling site on Election Day. Voters will have to sign both the electric poll book and the traditional poll book for this election.
“Everybody will have to sign twice,” said Ms. Martin.
Mr. Nastke said they would have the traditional poll book as a back-up.
Both Ms. Martin and Mr. Naskte said that the county had received funds from the state for this year’s early voting and technology updates. Two grants from the state for about $82,700 and $68,000 are what Ms. Martin called reimbursement grants.
In January a bill passed the state Assembly and Senate and was signed by the governor, allowing early voting in state. The bill “provides that beginning the tenth day prior to any election and ending on and including the second day prior to the election a person duly registered and eligible to vote shall be permitted to vote.”
According to an August 29 story in the Times Union, the law required at least 145 early-voting sites throughout the state. Counties have crafted plans to open 245 sites. The new law requires counties to maintain at least one polling site for every 50,000 voters. These sites need to be open for nine days leading up to Election Day. The story said that state funds were earmarked for early voting but were briefly delayed.
Those who choose to wait and vote on Tuesday, November 5 will vote at their normal polling site determined by which of the 50 election districts in the county a voter lives in.
More information about the elections and local polling sites is at www.columbiacountyny.com
Office hours at the Board of Elections are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 518 828-3115 for more information.