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Polling location in Buffalo opens late

Ashley Hirtzel

Voters were turned away from Unity Church at 1243 Delaware Avenue Tuesday morning. The polling site opened after 7 a.m., because three inspectors did not show up.

The polls open at 6 a.m. across New York State. Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr says technically only one inspector is needed to open a polling location, but they usually assign four inspectors, two Democrats and two Republicans, to all locations.

“The one inspector that did show up did not indicate to us that the other inspectors weren’t there and they weren’t passing out ballots. When we received a call from a voter about 45 minutes into the voting day that the location was not handing out ballots, we had an employee on the road that was there in about 5 minutes and then opened up the polling booth,” said Mohr.

Mohr says they’re looking into why the inspectors did not report to the polling site.

“We’re not sure if they got lost, or if they overslept, or what happened. It’s very rare when you have almost all the inspectors at a location not show up and not be able to open up a polling location,” said Mohr.

Mohr says two Board or Elections employees are currently at the site to ensure everything continues to run smoothly.

Mohr says the late start was an isolated incident and all other locations across Erie County opened on time with no issues. He says they anticipate a moderate voter turnout Tuesday.