PLATTSBURGH — North Country residents in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties will have a new option when election season rolls this year: early voting.

Following legislation passed by the New York State government in January, people all across the state will now be afforded a nine-day period before election day to get their votes in.

The period will run from Saturday Oct. 26 to Sunday Nov. 3 in all three counties, with early voting closing Nov. 4.

As was mandated in the new laws, the period includes two weekends to help accommodate citizens that work during the week.

The tricky thing for the North Country Boards of Elections, though, will likely be staffing.

“We had not budgeted for this,” said Sue Montgomery Corey, the Essex County board’s Democratic commissioner.

“We’re not really positioned to be able to staff more than one (polling) site.”

Franklin County’s Republican Commissioner Tracy Sparks had similar concerns, noting that that county’s staff of four will make it a “workload issue.”

In Clinton County, the board had success in finding willing ballot inspectors.

“We have probably 100 inspectors willing to do some of the new hours,” said Brandy Lloyd, Deputy Democratic Commissioner for the Clinton board.

“The ballot inspector pay will get divided around (towns in) the county.”

In Essex County, they were able to secure a rent-free polling location in the Essex County Public Safety Building in Lewis, but Montgomery said that they are still working out the expected costs of staffing and renting ballot machines.

The general consensus around all three counties was that there’s much still to plan, as this is the first go-around for everyone.

“It’s never been done, so we don’t really know what to expect,” Sparks said.

“We have no way to know.”

Every primary and general election following the 2019 general will have similar early voting periods.

While the first few elections will likely take some trial and error to find new best practices, Montgomery thinks it will be for the better.

“It’s going to be a change for everyone, but in the long run I think it will be a good one,” Montgomery said.

“Making it easier for people to vote is never a bad thing.”

Email Ben Watson:

bwatson@pressrepublican.com

EARLY VOTING POLLING PLACES AND TIMES BY COUNTY 

Every county will be holding an early voting period daily from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3.

 

 

CLINTON 

Polling Place: Clinton County Government Center, First Floor Meeting Room, 137 Margaret St., Plattsburgh.

HOURS:

Saturdays and Sundays: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

ESSEX 

Polling Place: Essex County Public Safety Building, 702 Stowersville Road, Lewis. 

HOURS: 

Saturdays and Sundays: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday and Wednesday: Noon to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

FRANKLIN

Polling Place: Franklin County Board of Elections Office, 355 W. Main St., Suite 161, Malone. 

HOURS:

Saturdays and Sundays: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.