New York early voting starts on Saturday, 1st time in its history

By Xia Lin

NEW YORK, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Early voting will begin across New York State on Saturday, offering voters nine days to cast their ballots prior to Election Day.

New York's early voting period will run until Nov. 1, ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, according to the schedule released by the state government. There will be no early voting on Nov. 2.

"This is the first time in history that New Yorkers can vote early in a presidential election. Make your voice heard," tweeted Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday.

This year, registered voters can vote three ways: by absentee ballot, in-person early voting, or in-person voting on Election Day, said the release.

All registered voters can request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID-19 for the Nov. 3 election, it added.

Nationwide, early voting rates have dramatically surged this year, as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, campaigned for the White House.

"Early voting is smashing records across the country: North Carolina, Georgia and Michigan, other swing states in the race for president, have either surpassed or are approaching 40 percent of their overall 2016 turnout," reported USA Today on Thursday.

"More than 42 million people had voted early, either in-person or by mail, as of Wednesday afternoon, seven times the 6 million who had voted early around this time in 2016," it added.

In the 2016 general election, New York ranked 41st in the country for voter turnout with just more than 57 percent of the voting-eligible population casting ballots. The state improved its turnout ranking by three spots compared to the 2012 general election.

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