If not being able to find the time to vote on Election Day is one of your excuses for not voting, you’d better find another one.
This weekend, New York joins 38 other states in the effort to make it more convenient for people to vote, thanks to a new option for early voting that starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 3.
New York consistently has among the worst voter turnout rates in the country.
One reason people often cite for not voting is that it’s inconvenient.
So for voters who’ve found they can’t make it to the polls on Election Day because of work, child care or other circumstances, this will make it easier for them.
The new system isn’t totally effort-free. (They haven’t legalized voting from your couch just yet.)
Voters still have to take time out of their day to vote. They still have to go a polling place. They still have to educate themselves on what’s on the ballot. But now, they can do it on their own terms.
Early voting does have some differences to voting on Election Day.
For starters, there aren’t as many locations where you can vote.
Counties are obligated to set up polling places, but those locations won’t necessarily be where you usually vote.
Also, on Election Day, the polls are open 15 hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The hours for early voting will be substantially fewer, but that’s made up by the fact that you’ve got nine extra days to find a time that’s convenient to you.
The times vary from day to day and from county to county, so you have to check first.
To find out where and when you’re eligible to vote early, visit or call your local Board of Elections office.
Or you can go online to a number of sites, which will give you specific information about the hours and locations in each county.
One such website is sponsored by Vote Early New York: https://www.voteearlyny.org. Just click on your county and up will pop a list of hours for each day, along with a Google map of polling locations.
Then just decide how these days, times and locations fit into your schedule and go cast a ballot.
Of course, instead of voting early, you still have the option of voting on Election Day or casting an absentee ballot.
The only significant thing that’s changing is that you now have a choice you’ve never had before.
This isn’t the end-all solution to low voter turnout. But it does solve one problem that many people have said prevents them from getting to the polls.
With early voting, it will be a lot harder now for people to say they didn’t vote because it was too inconvenient.