By Joan T. Parks
This year brings good news for New Yorkers who cherish the privilege of voting. Thanks to reforms passed in January, registered voters can now cast their ballots during nine days of early voting.
This means you can vote after hours or on weekends before Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The Niagara County Board of Elections has posted early voting locations and times on its website, elections.niagara.ny.us. The Erie County Board of Elections has identified 37 early voting locations and will post more information on its site, elections.erie.gov. Voters may vote at any of the early voting sites in their county.
There’s less hassle for people who move within the state, too: Simply fill out a change of address with the U.S. Post Office and the Board of Elections will update your voting registration automatically.
Of course, casting a ballot is just the final step. Smart voters want to be well-informed. To that end, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara provides reliable information through our free, nonpartisan 2019 Voters Guide. Voters can access it at League websites lwvbn.org or vote411.org.
Printed copies may be picked up at city, town and village halls in Erie and Niagara counties, at all public libraries, and at many community centers and college libraries.
This year, the league has sought information from candidates for Erie County Executive, Erie County Legislature, Buffalo Common Council, Buffalo Comptroller, Niagara County Legislature, Niagara County Clerk, Niagara Falls Mayor and Niagara Falls City Council.
The Voters Guide presents all information exactly as it is provided to us by the candidates themselves.
Unfortunately, not every candidate has chosen to respond. The deadline for our printed guide has passed, but it’s not too late for our online version. If candidates you’re considering are not in the Voters Guide, please ask them to submit their information right away. You deserve to know their qualifications and positions, even if they are running unopposed. Candidates can easily update their online information at any time, right up to Election Day.
If you have not yet registered, you can do so in person at your county Board of Elections by Friday, Oct. 11. Mailed registration forms must be postmarked by Oct. 11, and received by Oct. 16.
Instructions and forms can be obtained at elections.erie.gov for Erie County and at elections.niagara.ny.us for Niagara County.
The league produces our free annual Voters Guide as a public service. We urge everyone to take advantage of this resource to become more knowledgeable about the people we will elect to govern and represent us. Most important, we urge everyone to vote.
Joan T. Parks is president of the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara.