WHITE PLAINS, NY — Westchester County wants to help prevent the issues that caused problems during the June 23 primary election. County Executive George Latimer said, if the issues are not addressed, in November voters may face some significant concerns.
There were reports of voters waiting for hours to vote and the mail-in ballot process took weeks to yield results.
In a memorandum to Reginald LaFayette and Douglas Colety, the Democratic and Republican commissioners of the county board of elections, Latimer has proposed offering additional polling place inspectors, replacing polling sites, engaging additional temporary staffing to help with the absentee ballots and the creation of an early voting marketing plan.
The county board of elections is answerable to the state board of elections, not the county, Latimer said.
County employees will be asked if they want to serve as additional polling place inspectors and, if chosen for either a Republican or a Democratic inspector, will be deployed as the board of elections sees fit on election Day.
Because a number of previously used polling sites no longer satisfy state coronavirus-related requirements, the county will work with the board to review all polling sites, determine which ones were no longer usable and find suitable replacements.
Latimer proposed that the county's communications department design a marketing plan to promote early voting dates, times and sites. The rationale is that increasing early voting usage will reduce Election Day volume.
Should there be another large-scale request for absentee ballots, the county wants to facilitate additional temporary staffing for ensuring the mailing of the absentee ballot requests and the ballots themselves. The board of elections will be in charge of the hiring process, but the county will supervise the process making sure the resources needed for the task are in place.
Latimer said the county believes most of the expenses will be covered by funding given to the county from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
"We are committed to this assistance as a positive way to accomplish the agreed upon end goal of conducting the smoothest possible Election Day 2020," Latimer said. "Only the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic warrant our direct involvement and assistance in this manner."