Cayuga County is required to have only one early voting poll site, but election commissioners opted to add two more to accommodate voters in the northern and southern ends of the county.
Katie Lacey, the county's Democratic elections commissioner, revealed Tuesday that there will be three early voting locations for the general election. Lacey and Cherl Heary, the Republican elections commissioner, had to submit their updated list of sites to the state Board of Elections by Wednesday.
The early voting law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January requires counties to have a minimum of one location for every 50,000 registered voters. As of Feb. 1, Cayuga County had 49,324 registered voters.
Lacey told The Citizen in early May that the Clifford Park Clubhouse in Auburn was selected as an early voting site, but the county elections board considered adding more locations in the towns of Conquest and Venice.
Following those discussions, the county will have early voting poll sites at Conquest Town Hall and Venice Town Hall.
The locations in Conquest and Venice give voters in the northern and southern parts of the county closer options than the site in Auburn. Lacey reminded voters that during the early voting period they may cast a ballot at any of the sites in the county.
"We're trying to make it as convenient as we can," she said.
Future plans also factored into the county board's decision. While there is traditionally low turnout in local election years, 2020 is a presidential election year. There will be at least three elections in New York: The presidential primaries, the federal and state primary in June and the general in November.
With higher turnout expected in 2020, Heary and Lacey wanted to have the county's early voting plan in place this year.
The availability of state funding changed their approach. Instead of settling on one site, they sought to have three sites because state aid could help finance the additional locations.
The 2019-20 state budget includes nearly $25 million to help counties implement early voting. There is $14.7 million available to assist with the purchase of electronic poll books, on-demand ballot printers and other equipment. The state also has $10 million to reimburse counties for early voting-related expenses.
Each early voting location is eligible to receive up to $30,000 in state aid. Cayuga County could receive up to $90,000 to help implement early voting.
"We're going to get as much of the equipment as we can ahead of time because next year, with the presidential, we'll have more of a need than we'll have this year," Lacey said. "This is the year they're doing the aid, so this is the year we're going to be buying stuff."
The new law establishes a nine-day early voting period before an election. For this year, early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 26 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 3 — two days before Election Day.
In Cayuga County, the early voting sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 and Wednesday, Oct. 30; noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Thursday, Oct. 31; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1.