Allowing early voting in New York state is an intriguing idea. It's possible that in large metropolitan areas, early voting could increase voter turnout.
However, we support the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee's opposition to proposed state legislation that would allow state residents to vote early in general and primary elections.
The issue seems quite clear: Downstate politicians are seeking legislation to solve a problem that largely does not exist Upstate, while creating a new unfunded mandate.
The county committee voted to oppose passage of the state measure. County officials want the state to allow counties to opt-in to early voting opportunities and for the state to fully fund any increased costs associated with early voting. The full board will vote on the resolution Monday.
The state Assembly already passed legislation that would enact early voting.
According to information from the New York State Association of Counties, the bill requires voting to be permitted beginning on the third Thursday before any general election and the second Thursday before any primary election, and concluding on the Thursday before the election. Voting hours would be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. County boards of election would be required to designate at least five polling places in each county, geographically located so as to provide all voters in each county with an equal opportunity to vote.
NYSAC has said the state Legislature should evaluate the extent of costs associated with early voting and only pass legislation if they are able to provide funding, which is not expected to happen.
Our local counties have no need for early voting. There are no long lines at polling places on election days.
Early voting likely would cost local taxpayers more money. State legislators should cast their votes against the early voting proposal.