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Primary Day law getting a lot of attention

Primary Day law getting a lot of attention
Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 11:43:39-04

A law that is overlooked every four years is getting a lot of attention today. 

Erie, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Rockland and Putnam polls opened six hours earlier than every other county in the state Tuesday, and you can thank a law that was established back in 1909 for that. 

The original intent was for polling places across the state to be open between the times of Noon-9 p.m., except New York City, where the hours were 3-10 p.m.

The law was tweaked in 1973, extending New York City hours from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. and the other counties that are heavily populated. For counties that are less populated, it is easier for the board of elections to accommodate and administer the vote.  

Also, you have to be registered as a Democrat or Republican to vote on Primary Day. In other words, there are less eligible voters and less people heading to the polls compared to a general election day. Thus another reason as to why most polling stations across the state are open nine hours.

There are a total of 276,813 registered Democrats in Erie County, compared to 146,502 registered Republicans. That's significantly more eligible voters than Niagara County, where there are 51,767 registered Democrats and 42,326 registered Republicans.

On a general election day, all county polling places would open at 6 a.m. Primary Days are the exception. Most polling places across New York open at noon.