FULTON AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES – Voters in Montgomery County will have three early voting locations to choose from this year, while the more populous Fulton County sticks to the minimum required of an early polling station.
A new state mandate in effect for the 2021 primary and general elections requires all counties to have at least one early polling station in the county’s most populous municipality, namely the city of Amsterdam (population estimated at 17,836) for Montgomery County and the Town of Gloversville (estimated population 14,747) for Fulton County.
The New York State Advance Voting Act of 2019 required all counties with fewer than 99,000 residents to open at least one advance polling station to allow voters to vote for eight days before political party primary elections and the 2020 general election.
For the 2020 election, the Fulton County (estimated population of 53,383) and Montgomery County (estimated population of 49,221) Electoral Boards complied with the minimum mandate for an early polling location, and both chose their own county electoral council office as the election office. place to do it. Fulton County held an early vote at the Route 29 County office building, adjacent to the Sheriff’s Department and Jail, in the town of Johnstown, and Montgomery County held an early vote at its office located at 9 Park St., Fonda.
In 2020, New York state added a new requirement that at least one advance polling station be located in the county’s most populous municipality for the 2021 election, prompting Fulton County to relocate its advance polling location at Gloversville Senior Center at 53 Church St., Gloversville, which has about twice the city of Johnstown, estimated at 7,098 people.
Fulton County Republican Election Commissioner Lee Hollenbeck said it cost the county about $ 6,500 to run an early polling station for eight days, and they only moved it to Gloversville until ‘due to state requirement.
“We never discussed anything other than the minimum of one,” he said. “We have always used a site. I’ve had [said] I don’t think we will have [voters from the western] cities, but we never mentioned having a second site. “
Although it has fewer residents than Fulton County, the Montgomery County Electoral Board has chosen to expand with three locations for the 2021 election:
• Amsterdam Housing Authority, 52 Division St., Amsterdam
• Montgomery County Electoral Council Office, 9 Park St., Fonda
• The Fort Plain Seniors Center, 204 Canal Street, Fort Plain.
Montgomery County Republican Election Commissioner Terrance Smith said the only reason the county opened a polling station in the city of Amsterdam was for the state mandate. He said the reason for the opening of three locations was the geography of the county is such that having a pole station near the western villages would be more convenient for residents of that end of the county. He said the Montgomery County Election Board decided to keep the advance polling station open at the county election board office because it is located more centrally in the county and that some voters who participated in the early voting l last year could be confused and try to vote. here again.
He said the Montgomery County Legislature approved funding for early polling places as part of the 2021 budget, and he did not know how much each of the stations would cost.
Hollenbeck said Fulton County will advertise to ensure people are not confused and attempt to vote early at the Route 29 Election Commission office.
He said Fulton County is geographically different from Montgomery County in that most of the villages in Fulton County are in the eastern and northern parts of the county, with the western end of Fulton County being somewhat sparsely populated. compared to the rest.
Democratic Elections Commissioner Terry Bieniek said Montgomery County would have preferred to locate its Amsterdam city early polling station in the former Amsterdam Recorder office building, 1 Venner Road, on the outskirts from the city. Montgomery County is moving its Department of Social Services offices to the Venner Road site after a building renovation.
“The building is not ready,” Bieniek said. “It is still being renovated. If he was ready, we would have liked to use it. Maybe next year when it’s done.
Outgoing county executive Matt Ossenfort, a Republican, and Rita Francesa Loffredo, a Democrat who briefly announced a campaign to challenge him in November before retiring from the race in March, had both pleaded for an office more central voting in the main part of Amsterdam city, rather than Venner Road.
Bieniek admitted that there had been supporters for bringing the early polling place to downtown Amsterdam, and the Amsterdam Housing Authority office fits that description.
“Yes, everyone seems to have an opinion,” he says. “We, the commissioners, make the decision. Finding a place to go for nine days is not that easy to find. “
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