Special to the OBSERVER
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections closed its election rolls this week for the Nov. 6 vote pursuant to New York state election law and announced that 78,167 voters will be eligible to cast a ballot.
Breaking down the 2012 tally finds 27,204 Demo-crats, 26,119 Republicans and 24,844 voters declaring no political party or minor party affiliation. Of the nearly 80,000 voters, the Board of Elections expects about a 70 percent voter turnout for the presidential year election.
For comparison, the 2008 presidential cycle saw 82,150 registered voters broken down by 29,731 Democrats, 27,720 Repub-licans and 24,699 voters declaring no political party or minor party affiliation.
In 2008, Barack Obama carried the vote in Chautauqua County with 60,087 voters turning out and the Obama ticket garnering 29,129 votes vs. John McCain's candidacy winning 28,579 votes. The election saw a 73 percent voter turnout.
"We find that just one third of the voters in off-year or local-year elections turn out to vote in Chautauqua County," Election Comm-issioner Norman P. Green said. "We are now preparing for our once in four-year tsunami."
"The majority of voters have not voted since 2008," added Election Commiss-ioner Brian C. Abram. "They will find that we now vote using a paper ballot and optical scan ballot technology for vote tabulations. This will probably be a shock to some citizens who may not have tuned in to the election process lately."
Voters who will not be in the county on Election Day or who are physically unable to go the polls are entitled to vote by absentee ballot. Applications are available at www.votechautauqua.com and voters can also look up their personal voting status and poll site location by using the voter look up module available at the site or by calling 753-4580.
Voters must postmark applications for absentee voting no later than Oct. 30 or may come to the office in person until 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. Voters may also designate an agent or third party on the signed absentee application to handle picking up a ballot at the Mayville office. All absentee ballots must be postmarked for return to the Board of Elections no later than Monday Nov. 5 in order to be counted or the sealed and completed ballot may be delivered in person to any county poll site or to the Mayville office by 9 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 6.
To fully facilitate absentee voting, the Board of Elections will open extended hours at its 7 Erie St., Mayville office located in the Hall R. Clothier building. In addition to the normal 9-5 daily hours, the Board of Elections will be open until 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday until the election and on Saturday Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to Noon for one stop in person absentee voting.