BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On the first day of early voting in New York, 14,724 people voted in Erie County. That's over 2% of registered voters in the county.
That's over half of the 26,514 ballots cast in all nine days of early voting for Erie County in 2019. The 2019 election was not a presidential election. Non-presidential elections typically have less voter participation.
“Did you see that line? Oh my God, it's awesome. It's an awesome feeling,” early voter Karen Renee Davis said while waiting in line at the Gloria J. Parks Community Center.
She said she had been waiting in line for over an hour but, "it’s worth it,” she said.
October 24 marked the start of early voting in New York State, and like Karen, hundreds of Western New Yorkers came out to hit the polls.
“I just think it's my civic duty,” early voter Cheryl Belile said.
“My grandparents and my parents fought really hard for this right. So I want to make sure that I exercise this right,” early voter Sherrell Mclean said.
In Erie County, there are 37 different early voting sites and many of lines wrapped around the block.
“We don’t want to wait until November to cast our vote. Let’s do it today.” President and Owner and WUFO Radio Sheila Brown said.
Throughout the city of Buffalo, organizations have come together to help get people to the polls.
“We want to wake up our community and let them know the time is now," founder of the black farmers market Dewitt Lee III said.
On October 24, Lee and WUFO Radio teamed up to host a unity vote car parade.
“We thought why not take this as an opportunity," Lee said. "Galvanize the community together and get out there and vote together.”
Mark Glasgow of the Buffalo Urban League had a similar idea.
“So today we are hosting our “Souls to the Polls” early voting march and experience, where we are gathering together to vote early," he said. “This has been quite a tumultuous year for us as a nation, and one of the best steps to really move in the right direction is to really get people more activate in voting.”
“No chances. We’re not taking any chances for anything to go wrong," early voter Sherrell Mclean said. "We have the opportunity. We want to take advantage of the opportunity."