Supervisors oppose bills for early voting

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently joined the county’s election commissioners in opposing early voting in New York state, feeling it would hit local taxpayers hard.

The board Monday formally opposed what it sees as an unfunded mandate to require early voting in New York state. The action mirrors a recommendation by Republican county Election Commissioner Lee Hollenbeck and Democratic county Election Commissioner Lynne Rubscha.

State Assembly and Senate bills have been introduced in the state Legislature to establish an early-voting system in the state.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said those legislative proposals call for early voting to be allowed from eight to nine days prior to the September primaries, and between one to three weeks before the general election in November.

The resolution passed by the board said early voting may result in “substantial new costs for county governments and taxpayers.” It also indicated the proposed state legislation will require a minimum of five polling places throughout each county, with election inspectors at each location for all early voting periods.

“The election commissioners have expressed serious concerns about current proposals for early voting because they constitute an unfunded state mandate and will result in extensive new costs for local taxpayers,” the resolution says.

In its resolution, the board demanded the state take financial responsibility for all costs associated with any early voting mandates. The board also urged “more reasonable approaches be sought” to ensure voter turnout and that counties be allowed to “opt-in” to early voting procedures.

Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said early voting might result in thousands of dollars more per day for elections.

“It’s a bad deal all the way around,” she said.