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COVID-19 and voting: Erie Co. Board of elections changes rules to allow absentee voting

Posted at 5:22 PM, Mar 11, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County Board of Elections are trying to get ahead of COVID-19. With primaries just around the corner in New York State, it's a growing concern for voters.

"Just because you have a fear of what may occur with the coronavirus, we don't want that to affect your right to vote," said Commissioner Ralph Mohr.

Commissioners Mohr and Zellner are changing voting policies, allowing for all Erie County voters to use absentee ballots. Erie County is the first in the state to make these changes. Rather than heading to the polls on April 28, voters have more options if they're concerned about the outbreak.

This applies for both the presidential primary and the special election for Congressional District NY-27. Once you download the ballot, you simply check "public health emergency."

You can still vote in-person for early voting and on election day if you want to, this is just another option for voters. The Board of Elections is also planning to keep the polls clean, by wiping down stations throughout the day.

Here's how you can vote absentee for the primaries.


  • Call the Board of elections and ask for an absentee ballot 716-858-8891

The last day to send out a ballot is April 21. The board of elections will start mailing ballots on Friday, March 13.