TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– Election Day 2020 has officially come to a close in New York State and poll workers around the Ithaca area said that turnout was steady as expected, even considering the several options provided to voters to avoid any crowds at the poll locations.
Stephen Wagner, who was working the polls at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center in downtown Ithaca, said that turnout had been a steady flow, with a substantial line forming outside of the polling location in the morning before they opened at 6 a.m. He said about 400 people came to GIAC to vote in-person throughout the day.
He said there was some expectation that in-person turnout would be lower than normal, considering the breadth of early voting, mail-in and absentee ballot options, plus some public fear about the coronavirus pandemic.
“In 2016, I worked here, and it seemed a little busier,” Wagner said. “But it also seemed the same, in an odd way.”
Wagner also said it was easy to keep people socially distanced during the voting process, aided by the fact that he and several other poll workers at the location had helped with the 2020 primary in-person voting at the same location. Mask adherence was universally respected, he said. He further reported no technical difficulties as the day proceeded. While Wagner spoke, around 40 minutes before polls closed for the day at 9 p.m., two more voters appeared at the door to fill out their ballot.
He also said that from about 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. there was a constant, heavy stream of voters entering the building, with another small rush around 2 or 3 p.m.
The feedback is consistent with what Voice reporters learned from talking to poll workers at the Southside Community Center polling location, which had lines that moved slow and steady throughout the day.
Meanwhile, Aleen Wyatt, the polling place manager at the First Congregational Church of Ithaca, a Town of Ithaca polling location, reported similar results. She added that, like GIAC, 397 people had voted at that location, though around 7 p.m. the flow had mostly stopped.
“I thought so many people had voted early that it would be very quiet, but I’ve been pleased,” Wyatt said. “Especially by the enthusiasm of so many young people, and a lot of first time voters. They were so happy to be here, it was great.”