Voters came out in droves to cast their ballots at the North Merrick Public Library this weekend.
A nine-day early-voting period began for Nassau County residents on Saturday, Oct. 24, a little less than two weeks ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3. Long lines that appeared at polling sites throughout the county evidenced residents’ eagerness to cast their votes.
While an official count was not available, library director Susan Santa estimated that thousands had passed through the building from Saturday into Monday. The process went “smoothly,” despite social distancing and safety procedures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone was able to get in, vote, and get back out without a problem,” Santa said.
The line streamed down Meadowbrook Road and onto Webster Avenue on Saturday. It moved quickly, as Board of Elections officials established an efficient routine after using the library as a polling place in past years.
“We’re excited,” added Santa on Friday before voting began. “I feel as though it’s our civic duty, and I’m happy we can offer this service to the residents of Nassau County.”
North Merrick is the home to one of 15 polling sites throughout the county. The process was introduced in New York state last year as part of a series of reforms intended to make voting easier for people who struggle to get to the polls on Election Day.
The nine-day schedule offers 83 hours of early voting — 60 are required — including evenings and weekends through Sunday, Nov. 1 (see map). Registered voters may cast their ballots at any of the listed locations, but if they do not, they must vote at their regular polling place on Nov. 3.
Residents will verify their voter registration on iPads, or electronic poll books, which have replaced physical poll books at each early-voting site and regular polling place. Using a stylus, poll inspectors will assist voters in signing their names and confirming their identities. Once their signatures are approved, the poll inspector will print ballots from a ballot-on-demand printer.
“No matter where you go, you’re getting your ballot,” said James Scheuerman, the Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections.
Scheuerman also said that if residents submit their ballots during the early-voting period, it precludes them from voting on Election Day. “The poll pads sync up,” he said, “so after you vote, other poll books around the county, within one minute, will know that you voted to guard against double voting.”
Residents who have questions about the county’s early-voting procedures can visit www.nassauvotes.com.
To ensure ballots are cast at legitimate polling stations or deposited in legitimate drop-off boxes, voters are advised to be attentive. Report any suspicious activities or efforts to interfere with or disrupt voting immediately.
If in doubt, or to report any issues, please call the Nassau County Board of Elections at (516) 571-8683 for English; or La Junta Electoral Condado Nassau en Español at (516) 571-1245.
Timothy Denton contributed to this story.