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Dozens of procrastinators register to vote on final day

Ronald Mickles, 51, hasn't voted in years. Not since 2008. And never before in New York State.

And it didn't seem like Mickles was going to vote this year either, since he hadn't registered to vote since moving to Buffalo two years ago.

"Been busy," he said.

And aside from that, he noted, polling shows Hillary Clinton - his favored candidate - will easily win New York State.

But as the discourse in the current presidential race has dragged on, Mickles said, he decided he wanted to cast his vote, even if it does nothing more than increase Hillary Clinton's expected New York State victory by one vote.

So after learning Saturday was the final day to register to vote in Erie County, Mickles made a point of getting downtown to sign up.

"Trump is an imbecile," Mickles said of the Republican candidate for president, Donald J. Trump, when asked why he decided to register to vote this year."This buffoon cannot get into office."

Mickles was among dozens of procrastinators, Erie County transplants and first-time voters who registered to vote Saturday, the final day for Erie County residents to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election. The Erie County Board of Elections accepted registrations from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday.

Ronald Mickles was among those who registered to vote on Saturday, the final day for Erie County residents to register for the Nov. 8 election.

Ronald Mickles was among those who registered to vote on Saturday, the final day for Erie County residents to register for the Nov. 8 election. (Susan Schulman/Buffalo News)

Like Mickles, many who showed up, while waiting until the last minute to register, were nonetheless passionate about the presidential race.

"I don't like Hillary," Chelsea Brown, 23, of Depew, said of the Democratic candidate. "I agree with Trump on his positions," she said, referring to such things as immigration, free trade and particularly health care.

"I don't like Obamacare. I don't like her wanting to expand upon Obamacare. I don't like paying for something I don't need," Brown said.

What about allegations that Trump has mistreated women, Brown was asked.

"That doesn't bother me," she said. "Trump's not the first to objectify women."

Mickles said he voted in the 2008 presidential election while living in Chicago, but didn't bother voting in 2012 because it was so evident, he said, that Barack Obama would easily win re-election.

Brown and her boyfriend, Ken Galbraith, 26, of Alden, who also registered Saturday, said they have never voted before.

They had been planning to register to vote in this election, but just never got around to it. Then, when they heard the Erie County Board of Elections would be open all day Saturday, they made a point of coming down to register.

"We've been thinking about it," Brown said. "Luckily, today was the last day."

Unlike Brown, Galbraith didn't say which candidate he'll be voting for in November. There's things he likes about both Trump and Clinton, he said.

Galbraith said he likes the idea of a businessman in the White House. "If I lost $900 million in one year I wouldn't want to pay taxes either," he said, referring to media reports that Trump in 1995 took a tax deduction from a $900 million business loss that apparently allowed him to not pay federal income taxes for 20 years.

"With Hillary, I like her prior experience with foreign policy," he said.

Many of the dozen people interviewed by The Buffalo News after registering to vote Saturday said they had recently moved, either to or within Erie County. So they came to register or re-register in Saturday.

Several said they didn't have time to register previously because they work, and couldn't get to the Board of Elections during the workweek, so were happy to take advantage of the Saturday hours. Others said they tried previously to register online, but had problems navigating the online system.

Most of those who spoke with the News said they will vote for Clinton.

"Hillary. She's the best choice," said Gail Ballard, 51, of Buffalo, who said she recently moved and didn't have time to get to the Board of Elections until Saturday.

"Donald Trump is not a good choice," she continued. "He has no views. What he says about women should bother everyone."

Lindsey Draper, 31, who moved to West Seneca from Wyoming County, said she finds Trump to be demeaning and insulting.

Draper said she is concerned that Clinton, as secretary of state, didn't do more to shore up security at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, before it was attacked.

But Draper also said she supports having a female president.

Several others interviewed said they will not vote for Trump, but have not yet decided if they will vote for Clinton, or perhaps a third-party candidate.

Victor and Teresa Diaz, who recently moved to Amherst from Chautauqua County, were among the undecided voters.

"Not Trump, but not crazy about Hillary," said Victor, 32. Teresa, 27, agreed.

Katie Lawson, 18, of Hamburg, also said she won't be voting for Trump. "I don't like what he says about women or minorities," she said.

Lawson said she also has not decided if she'll vote for Clinton, or one of the third-party candidates, on the ballot.

Lawson, who turned 18 years old in April, attends St. John Fischer College in Rochester. She had been trying to register online, but was unable to, so came downtown Saturday to register.

"I'm excited," Lawson said about voting for the first time. "Women fought for the right to vote for a long time."

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