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Voting in local elections could get a lot simpler if this state proposal is approved

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

State Sen. Rachel May, a Syracuse Democrat, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would give New York counties the option to establish vote centers where any eligible county voter can cast their ballot on Election Day. The legislation would allow local election boards to designate countywide vote centers for the day of a primary or general election.


The concept of vote centers is not new to New York or other states. Counties in New York already use vote centers during the nine-day early voting period before an election. With the addition of electronic poll books and ballot on-demand printers, polling places can be set up in central locations for all voters in a county.


May’s justification for the bill is that “this system functions well across the state during the early voting period,” and she wants New York to join other states that allow Election Day vote centers. At least eight states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah, have vote centers for early voting and Election Day.

It would give county election officials the flexibility to establish one or more vote centers during elections, similar to the established polling places during early voting. These vote centers would allow voters from anywhere within a county to use polling places with such a designation to cast their ballot.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Elections Committee for review.