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Early voting ends with nearly 40K casting their ballots in Erie County

Early voting booths
Mike Desmond
Early voting at the Cheektowaga Senior Center Sunday.

Nearly 40,000 residents in Erie County decided to cast their vote early, 4,600 on Sunday alone. That was the last day you could vote early. On Tuesday, votes can be cast at your local polling place.

In Buffalo alone, nearly 16,000 residents showed up early, 1,800 Sunday alone. That probably reflects the intense mayoral race in Buffalo.

Some 168,000 early votes were cast in last year's presidential race and 27,000 the year before.

Erie County has more early voting sites than any other county in New York. Two not very distant from each other were the Matt Urban Center in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood and the Cheektowaga Senior Center, farther out Broadway.

At the Matt Urban Center, Mohamed said early voting meant he could cast his ballot easily.

"I work Monday through Friday. They don't give us time off to go vote. So Sunday is the only day I have to vote. That's why I came in today," he said.

Shirley Banks said early voting was better for her schedule, as well.

"On the second, I'm going to be busy. I have a lot of doctors, appointments and stuff like that. So I saw it was more convenient to come out and vote early today. So that's why I came out," Banks said.

Charles cast his ballot at the Matt Urban Center, making certain he voted on the propositions on the back of the ballot.

"Because there's issues that affect all of us. I want to see clean water. I want to see people be able to see people vote early. Just other issues that's important, even more so than the candidates," Charles said.

A yellow sign saying, "EARLY VOTING ENTER HERE" is attached to the entrance of the Cheektowaga Senior Center
Mike Desmond

Cheektowaga resident DaVida Tolbert said she's watching the Buffalo race.

"Being from Buffalo, I wish I was able to vote for the mayoral election. I've always been a supporter for one of the candidates. So I hope that the votes will be counted and that the right candidate will be chosen," Tolbert said.

At the senior center, Mike said voters need to choose good public officials.

"If you have the right leader and the right people behind her, then things work. People have to work together. If you can't work together, it's not a good thing," he said.

Lorraine Eberle said early voting made it easier for her to cast her ballot, as well.

"I could come any time because I'm not working. But I think it's good for some people who don't have any other time to come. I think it's great. I never had it before, but it's worked out very well for me," she said.

As is so often true, Cheektowaga also has a battle for seats on the Town Board.

The polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and continue through 9 p.m.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.