Editor’s corner: Voting here is a bit behind times

Priscilla Powley and Jan Moore have been overwhelmed by letters in recent weeks. Mail-in and absentee ballots continue to pour in to those election assistants at the Warren County Elections Office.

But those legal documents are not yet being opened in anticipation of Election Day. They are, as county Elections Director Lisa Rivett recently noted, just being sorted.

Those envelopes are just the beginning. On Tuesday, who knows just what type of rush will take place at the polling sites across this county.

Pennsylvania is in play for the country’s big prize. Either President Donald Trump or Joe Biden will claim the precious 20 Electoral College votes. Just how soon we find out is a question no one can answer.

It is not oftentimes we can make this case, but as Election Day comes speeding closer, we need to look at what is happening in the Empire State and Chautauqua County. Since Oct. 24, those registered have been able to cast ballots in the Early Voting process.

Chautauqua County, with 127,000 residents, can see between 40,000 and 60,000 voters each November. Through Wednesday, Board of Elections commissioners had reported about 25% of that number had turned out at the polls.

It is an astounding number.

At the Chautauqua Mall location in Lakewood, there were wait lines of 30 to 50 minutes during the last weekend. Voting also is taking place in Dunkirk at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds and the county seat of Mayville at the Board of Elections.

Why this is so important goes back to all those ballots.

How many here would take part in a process like this if there were three locations countywide?

It gives voters some flexibility. Instead of having to get the polls on one day, they have more than a week.

For Pennsylvania now, the only early option is by mail. Why not a more personal option as well?

One other positive is knowing results. When the polls close at 9 p.m., Chautauqua County will post the early voting numbers online.

Those are likely compiled during Monday — when polls are closed — before they reopen on Tuesday.

Normally, Pennsylvania is ahead of New York when it comes to efficiencies and convenience. Our Commonwealth needs to reconsider a better, more user-friendly method.

Every vote counts. How about making it a little easier?

John D’Agostino is the regional editor of the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and the OBSERVER in Dunkirk, N.Y. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call (716) 487-1111, ext. 253.


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