October 18, 2021

Voter sign-ups increase in county

Vote stock image

The number of registered voters is up nearly 10.9% from four years ago — the last presidential election — and 11.2% since March, as thousands of people have registered in just the past six months, county records show.

And that’s during a coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a little difficult,” Sheila Cohen, the president of the Cortland County League of Women Voters, said about registering people to vote.

However, even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic 699 residents registered to vote between March 4 and Oct. 2, according to voter registration records and Republican Elections Commissioner Robert Howe — 430 of them as either Republicans or Democrats and the rest either as unaffiliated voters or with third parties.

The county League of Women Voters, the YWCA and other advocacy groups have been working to register as many people as they can for the Nov. 3 election.

Cohen said they registered people at a food distribution event, worked with the YWCA to register students at four schools and had a votercade on Sept. 22, where they went around SUNY Cortland and to shopping centers with decorated cars urging people to vote.

According to the Board of Elections, enrolled Republicans continue to outnumber Democrats in the county: 10,232 to 9,158, compared with 2016, when it was 9,939 Republicans to 8,869 Democrats.

Cohen said the league plans to distribute double-sided fliers at food pantries that tell people how to register to vote before the Oct. 9 deadline on one side and ways to vote on the other.

The league also plans a candidate forum Oct. 13 for the 125th Assembly District race that people will be able to view via YouTube and the group is working on another for the 126th Assembly District.

Register to vote

Deadline:Oct. 9

How to do it:Go to www.ny.gov/ services/register-vote

Absentee ballots

Oct. 27: Last day to apply online, by email, fax or to postmark an application or letter of application

Nov. 2: Last day to apply in person for an absentee ballot

Nov. 3: Last day to postmark a ballot. The ballot must be received by the local board of elections by Nov. 10. Military voters have until Nov. 16.

Nov. 3: Last day to deliver an absentee ballot in person to the local board of elections or any poll site.

For details: Go to www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html

Absentee ballots coming

Howe said 4,199 people have requested absentee ballots for the election as of Friday.

“There’s been a big increase in absentee ballots,” Howe said. The county sent out 1,528 ballots in 2016.

Some have already been returned — mainly from military personnel. Residents waiting on an absentee ballot should receive them shortly, he said, adding people living in villages will receive two ballots — one for the village and one for the presidential elections.