BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As many as 6.5 million Americans have cast ballots, and the election is still two weeks away. However, most New Yorkers do not have access to that early voting.
In 37 states plus Washington, D.C., voters can cast early ballots, either in person or via mail. Several other states offer no-excuse absentee voting. New York offers neither. Voters must meet strict qualifications in order to get absentee ballots.
"We need to make voting more accessible and more convenient," said Len Lenihan, Erie County's Democratic Elections Commissioner.
Lenihan said his party has fought to bring early voting to New York for many years.
"Making it as convenient as possible," Lenihan said. "People work different hours, work in shifts, some people working two jobs. You've got to make the franchise accessible when it works for them."
In the last presidential election, New York's voter turnout was 7th worst in the entire country.
The New York State Assembly has passed several bills that would have brought early voting to the Empire State. Those measures enjoyed 2-to-1 support; however, Western New York Republicans all voted no. You can see the roll call vote on the Assembly's website.
NYPIRG and the League of Women Voters are among the non-partisan groups that support early voting in New York.
2 On Your Side reached out to Republican leadership in the State Senate, but our messages were not returned.