In my previous post, I discussed the voter registration process. The October 9th deadline has since passed, and hopefully by now you are properly registered and eligible to vote in the upcoming 2020 General Election.
There are three methods for Suffolk County voters to cast their ballots:
1) Absentee Ballot. We can now add the threat of coronavirus to the existing reasons for obtaining an absentee ballot. New York State has expanded upon “illness” to include the “risk of contracting or spreading a disease that may cause illness to the voter or to other members of the public” (this would be marked as “temporary illness” on a ballot application). If you have not already done so, APPLY NOW. DO NOT WAIT until the October 27th deadline, otherwise, due to high demand, you may not receive your ballot in time for the November 3rd submission deadline. And if you receive your ballot late, or can’t make it to the post office to get it postmarked and mailed on-time, you can appoint someone to hand-deliver it to ANY polling place in Suffolk County. For more detailed information and FAQs about voting by absentee ballot, click here.
2) In-person Early Voting (October 24th through November 1st) at designated early polling sites. Voters may vote at any one of the 12 Early Voting locations throughout Suffolk County, which will be clean, safe and secure. The Town of Huntington has two sites: Dix Hills Fire Department and Huntington Public Library - Station Branch. For a list of all Early Voting poll locations and hours, click here. For more information and FAQs about Early Voting, click here.
3) In-person on Election Day (November 3rd) at your regular polling place. Each of Suffolk County’s 336 polling places will be clean, safe and secure. Booths, privacy sleeves and pens will be continuously sanitized. To confirm your polling place location, click here.
Changes at the polls
If you haven’t voted in-person since the 2019 Primary Elections, you will certainly notice changes at polling locations. Most notable is the absence of the large poll roster books that contained voter listings and signatures. They are gone, replaced by electronic poll book devices called Poll Pads. These specially-configured iPad tablets allow polling clerks to quickly look up, identify and check in voters, using innovative wireless technology. Their clever, advanced features save time, boost efficiency and enhance the voting experience. For example, if a voter shows up at the wrong polling place, clerks can now immediately identify the correct location and print out the address, along with driving directions. Also, if someone attempts to vote more than once in an election, the tablet screen will display a message alerting the poll worker, thereby preventing potential voter fraud.
The other major change to occur on the election scene was, of course, the implementation of Early Voting, which began with the General Election in November 2019. Voters now have nine additional days to vote in-person, and are strongly urged to take advantage of this opportunity to avoid crowds and long wait-times on Election Day.
With recent developments in how elections are held and voters are processed (as well as challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic), polling place layouts and procedures have been modified accordingly. Upon arrival at a voting site, please follow the instructions of facility staff and poll workers as they make an effort to follow new rules, reduce confusion and accommodate voters -- all while trying to provide an uncompromised level of public service under unusual and demanding circumstances.
For more information and details, these links and websites are highly recommended:
On behalf of the Board of Elections, THANK YOU FOR VOTING, and we look forward to seeing you at the polls!
Reference Librarian, Adult Services Department
Polling Inspector (D-Huntington), Suffolk County Board of Elections