Voters in Dutchess County are one step closer to having “full day” polling hours for primary day elections. At present, the polling hours are from noon to 9 p.m. Every other county in the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District, including Putnam, has polling hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
At our meeting on May 8, Dutchess County legislators voted unanimously to support a request to the state Senate and Assembly to extend primary polling hours in Dutchess. I made a trip to Albany and met with both Sen. Sue Serino and Assemblyman Frank Skartados to lobby for the change. If approved, the new hours would take effect in 2018.
There is a cost associated with extending the polling hours that will come from the county budget. Primary elections historically have low turnouts, and I am not suggesting that longer hours will have a major effect on that. But I do feel it is our responsibility to use every resource possible to give voters every opportunity we can to cast a vote.
John Forman, Beacon
Forman represents District 16 (Beacon and Fishkill) in the Dutchess County Legislature.