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Thousands hit the polls for early voting

For the first time in New York State, early voting is now an option for voters.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Thousands of voters take to the polls casting their ballots on the first day of early voting in New York State.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. Saturday, and there was a good turnout at some of the polling sites, but there's still time to vote before Election Day.

Thousands of voters in Erie County jumped on the opportunity to cast their ballot in the November elections, heading to the polls in the first day of early voting.

"We had a pretty busy morning, voting started off really heavy and then kind of tapered off towards the end," said Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner. 

 2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval asked, "Were any issues reported?"

"There were very minor issues none of which affected anyone's ability to vote," said Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr.

When polls closed at 6 p.m., 3,485 ballots were cast in Erie County, with more than 2,100 absentees, which have been collected for the past several weeks. 

For you political junkies out there that's a turnout of nearly 1 percent. 

"Did that exceed expectations?" Asked Preval.

"You don't really know what to expect the first time you do anything, so I think in my mind it exceeded expectations," Zellner said. "From what we hear from the company we work with the first day is always the busiest day."

One of the big differences with early voting are the electronic poll books that are used to check in, even if you don't have your voter registration card.  

"We can still look them up on the tablets that we have now and get them in and out no problem and they can go back to their shopping," said Phyllis Yarborough, a poll worker at the Broadway Market. 

At the Leonard Post VFW in Cheektowaga, we found Marie Gordon, she had one complaint. 

"It's a little crowded in there, there's not enough space I would say," she said.

To that, the Board of Elections has this response. 

"The finding of the locations was difficult because we have to have these locations open for nine days, and we had a very short period of time which to find the locations, I think if there is a place for improvement that might be one area which we could improve for next year," Mohr said.

Early voting resumes Sunday at noon, but wait, isn't there a football game?

"Probably not a whole lot of turnout tomorrow given the Bills game right?" Asked Preval.

"Probably not," Zellner said, "you can vote a little bit before and a little bit after as well."

On Sunday early voting goes from noon to 6 p.m. 

Some may wonder where is my ballot during early voting. It actually stays at the polling location you went to, it stays locked up and the board of elections has backup data chips in case any happens to it. 

All the ballots will still be counted on Election Day.

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