ALBANY — The first two days of early voting in New York attracted 51,458 voters, including 8,595 Long Islanders, according to data released Monday by the state Board of Elections.
The data showed 5,273 voters from Nassau County used the new law to vote early while 3,322 from Suffolk County did so. New York City saw 12,522 early voters. Every county reported some early voters.
It won’t be clear until after Election Day on Nov. 4 how many of the early voters may have been among the new voters the law is hoping to entice. This is also an off-year for state and national elections. This year's elections are dominated by local races and some special elections for the State Legislature and Congress, so turnout is unpredictable.
Voters can cast ballots before Election Day at more than 10 sites each in Nassau and Suffolk counties as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m., including hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Voting sites and hours are available from the county boards of elections.
The League of Women Voters of New York State has been monitoring polling sites on Long Island and in the four-county Albany area to get a read on the reaction to the state’s first venture into early voting, which already had been adopted by several states.
“We are pretty excited about it,” said Jennifer Wilson, the program and policy director for the league. She said she visited polling sites over the weekend and “so far, everybody is loving it and they don’t mind waiting a little bit. I think it’s great so far.”
The State Legislature approved early voting in January. New York was the 39th state to offer the option, which is intended to boost voter turnout. That state has promised $10 million to help counties assist voters and to keep some offices open on weekends and after regular business hours during the week.