early voting

Signs in the southeast quadrant of the Public Square advertise the Steuben County Courthouse as the place to vote absentee. As of the close of business on Thursday, 2,970 people had voted absentee in person and 2,082 by mail for a total of 5,052, which is well ahead of 2016 when the record for absentee voting was set in Steuben County.

ANGOLA — Steuben County has set a new record for absentee voting in the general election that sends people to the polls Tuesday.

At noon Monday, said Steuben County Clerk Tangi Manahan, 8,359 people had cast their ballots. That represents 56% of the total turnout in the 2016 presidential election.

Because of COVID-19, more people have chosen to vote by mail, though walk-in absentee voting will surpass mail-in this year.

There were double lines in the Steuben County Courthouse on Monday morning as the final in-person voters queued up to cast ballots.

So far, 8,359 people cast their ballots early in person this year. Of that total, 5,979 people voted early in person and 2,380 of the 2,517 mail-in ballots had been returned as of Monday. Voters have until noon Tuesday to get their mail-in ballots turned in to the clerk’s office, whether that’s by actual mail or by dropping it off in person.

That last presidential election had set records for walk-in absentee voting (2,901) and mail-in voting at 825 ballots for a total of 3,726 absentee ballots.

As of noon Monday, absentee balloting made up 56% of the 2016 turnout, which was 14,908. That year turnout was 64%. It is expected by many observers that turnout will reach high amounts today once the polls close at 6 p.m.

Compared to the 2018 election, when turnout wasn’t as great as the 2016 presidential year, this year’s absentee count has accounted for about 68% of the 12,382 ballots cast in an election where turnout was 54%.

The mail-in ballots will be fed into polling machines on election day, with the work to end by 6 p.m. when the polls close. All of the absentee ballots typically account for the first batch of results to be released by Manahan and her staff on election night.

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