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Politics

Early voting in Erie County hits 40%, 80% overall turnout possible

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Mike Desmond / WBFO News
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Early voters in Cheektowaga last week.

Voters are clearly excited about this presidential election, as they vote early in person or by mail. Nearly 40% of voters in Erie County have already cast their ballots. There still may be a major turnout in what's expected to be rotten weather Tuesday.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said the expectation is that the final turnout might approach 80% of the 630,000 registered voters. He doesn't know what is the highest turnout on record in the county, but last year, nearly 27,000 residents voted early.

Zellner said this year's presidential election elevated that well beyond anyone's expectation.

"So far, we're pushing 40% turnout of the total vote at this point," he said. "The 167,000-plus voters who voted early this year, compared to the 26,000 last year, they really did a great job. I'm so proud of our staff and the inspectors who are out there working so hard every day under the toughest, toughest circumstances."

On top of that, 76,000 mail-in ballots of the 95,000 applications are already in hand. Across New York State, more than 2 million early votes have been cast.

Zellner said he still expects some lines Tuesday.

"It's going to be busy and it's going to be a busy election day because of the turnout. It's going to be great," he said.

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