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Flood of absentee ballots could slow results for some primary contests


The Monroe County Board of Elections is dealing with an unprecedented amount of absentee ballot applications and they expect that it will be difficult to determine the outcome of at least some of the June 23 primaries until a week later.

Republican Monroe County Elections Commissioner Lisa Nicolay said that more than 17,000 ballots that have come in so far, and she expects that number to double by the time all the ballots come in. The ballots have to be postmarked by Primary Day, June 23, and they have to be received by the Board of Elections by June 30.

“We’re not going to be counting ballots until seven days post-Primary Day, so a lot of the decisions will be announced in July, early July,” Nicolay said.

The Board of Elections has processed close to 60,000 absentee ballot applications and mailed out over 100,000 ballots, according to a news release it sent out Tuesday.

"This has created a large volume of mail for our post offices to deliver," reads the release, which goes on to encourage anyone who hasn't yet received an absentee ballot to consider visiting an early voting polling site.

On Wednesday, Nicolay added that the in-person early voting that began last week and ends at 2 p.m. Sunday has not seen a lot of voters turn out.

"The polling locations are not as busy as we would hope," Nicolay said. "I’m not sure why that is, if people are taking advantage of the absentee mailing, or if they are planning on voting on Tuesday"

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who issued an executive order that would allow any voter in the state to get an absentee ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic, has encouraged voters to take advantage of absentee voting. Local elections officials also publicized that voters could get an absentee ballot by checking the “temporary illness or physical disability” option on their applications.

Next Tuesday’s contests include state, and local primaries as well as a Democratic Congressional primary in the 25th District. In the 27th Congressional District there is a special election and Republican primary.

There is also a Democratic presidential primary in New York.

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at