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Early voting hours in Onondaga County extended to meet demand

Onondaga County has extended early voting hours to accommodate more residents.

Onondaga County election officials are taking action to try to ease the crush of early voters who have been heading to the polls in droves the last four days.

Like many other locations in New York state, central New York voters are choosing to cast their ballot early this presidential election year, and it’s created long lines and waits. Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says the county will expand the hours at its six election sites this weekend in order to move things along.

"When we opened our site last weekend, there were people in line for an hour and a half even before we opened,” Czarny said. “So we felt the best way to deal with crowds coming next weekend is to open up earlier and try to process as many voters as possible in the last two days of early voting.”

Early voting will begin at 8 a.m. instead of 12 p.m. at all the sites. Onondaga County is averaging 1,000 voters an hour, and Czarny wouldn’t be surprised when all is said and done if at least 60,000 -- or a fifth of the total vote -- will be cast by way of early voting.

“We’re gonna do the best we can. But I hope in the future that my colleagues will heed my advice about expanding the number of sites, especially in federal and presidential years,” Czarny said.

The last day of early voting is Sunday, November 1. Voters will also be able to cast a ballot on Tuesday, Election Day.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.