For the first time ever, New Yorkers will be casting ballots well ahead of next month’s Election Day. In Yorktown, all residents taking part in the early voting will go to a single polling place, in Jefferson Village, on any one of nine days.
Countywide, the Westchester Board of Elections has designated 17 sites for early voting, at locations most often different from a resident’s customary Election Day locale. All polling places will open for business Saturday, Oct. 26, and continue to welcome voters daily through Sunday, Nov. 3.
In Yorktown, where residents normally vote on a single day in one of 43 neighborhood polling places, all early voting will take place at a single site over nine days. The early-vote polling place is in the community building of Jefferson Village, off Route 6, just east of the Jefferson Valley Mall, at 3480 Hill Blvd., Yorktown Heights.
On the traditional Tuesday Election Day—this year it’s Nov. 5—voting will revert to Yorktown’s customary polling places for anyone who chose not to vote early.
Whether voting early or not casting ballots until Election Day, voters this year will choose from among the candidates for town office, County Legislature and judicial posts. This newspaper will publish a detailed look at the contests in a special election issue on Thursday, Oct. 24.
To vote early, visit Jefferson Village at these times:
• Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27: noon to 5 p.m.
• Monday, Oct. 28: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Tuesday, Oct. 29: noon to 8 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 31: noon to 8 p.m.
• Friday, Nov. 1: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3: noon to 5 p.m.
Most of the nation—38 states and the District of Columbia—was already voting early when New York this year embraced the practice. In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation directing a number of electoral reforms. In addition to early voting, they mandate same-day primaries, actions intended to make voting easier and, in the case of primaries, to save money.
Early 2019 voting, likely to be lighter than the turnout for next year’s presidential race, is seen as something of a test run for 2020, with new technology potentially changing the way we vote.
Electronic polling books, which digitally duplicate the county’s master voter registration roll, make it possible not only to vote early but also to cast a ballot in the most convenient polling place. Under the kind of scenario envisaged for e-books, a Yorktown resident who works in White Plains, let’s say, could wind up voting in that city on a lunch hour.
Board of Elections staffers are now being trained on the e-books, with the hope—but not any certainty—that they could get a tryout in this year’s early voting, Democratic Elections Commissioner Douglas LaFayette said this week. “Anything can happen with a new system,” he said.
If practical experience validates the e-books’ theoretical potential, they could replace the paper books local poll workers have used over the years to check in voters. Since those paper books contain only the registrations in a specific election district, voters could cast an in-person ballot only in the district in which they had registered.
To recover the expenses related to early voting, including buying the e-poll books, Westchester will be able to tap a $24 million fund made available by the state to reimburse counties. As it does in any election, the county will also pick up the overtime and other expenses of early voting.
The state Board of Elections put e-poll books to the test in pilot projects elsewhere in the state. It also assessed whether they met required standards for things like networking and security.