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Albany County officials announce new plan to streamline voting process

A "Vote Here" sign outside the Albany County Board of Elections building on Pearl Street in Albany.
Ian Pickus
Ian Pickus
A "Vote Here" sign outside the Albany County Board of Elections building on Pearl Street in Albany.

The Albany County Legislature is considering a measure to change the voter disclosure policy in the county.

County legislators say it is time to amend the state Voters Bill of Rights in polling places and at the Board of Elections to include a QR code to bring voters to the Board of Elections website. The website will be updated with a voting F-A-Q section in line with New York’s statewide elections website. County Legislature Chair Andrew Joyce, a Democrat, says it could boost turnout among young people.

“That first chance you have to go to the polls is an important one, and you want to make sure that your rights are being maintained, and that you know everything you need to know to cast your ballot," Joyce said.

County Legislator Matthew Peter, a Democrat from the 5th district, spoke Friday at the Board of Elections office to discuss the reasoning behind the proposed changes.

“Often when you go to the polling site, you want to know, where do I actually go? When do I have to get an affidavit vote, will my vote count? Things like that, and often people wait in line, sometimes the wrong line to actually ask those questions," Peter noted. "And then there’s sometimes a confrontation with poll workers who may not completely understand what’s going on.”

1st District Democrat Carolyn McLaughlin says the voting process needs to be streamlined.

“If there’s one thing that can level the playing field for all of our citizens, it is the right to vote. But if you go into the polling site, it’s your first time or if you haven’t voted in 10 years, you don’t know whether you still go to the same table or not or even if you’re in the right location," McLaughlin remarked.

McLaughlin says the county needs to get ahead of the curve with the next elections coming up quickly.

“As we prepare for primaries this year and as we prepare for major elections in our country next year, this is the time to do the work," McLaughlin stressed.

The measure was scheduled for debate in front of the full Albany County Legislature on Monday as Resolution 152, but was sent to committee.

Law Committee leadership did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.