ITHACA, N.Y. –– With the introduction of early voting and a flood of absentee ballots in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, voter turnout on Election Day itself has been surprisingly high.

Earlier today, Ithaca Voice reporter Matt Butler checked in at polling places throughout the county to get a read on how the day was progressing. While out, Butler talked to poll worker Loueen Rosenbush who said that the Groton Town Hall location had seen a steady stream of voters since opening at 6 a.m. The line around noon wasn’t quite outside the building, but did include around 10 people looped around the inside of the building’s lobby.

“I have never seen this many people vote,” Rosenbush said at around 1 p.m. “Usually we have this many all day.”

The Ithaca Voice has since checked in with officials to see how the turnout stacks up to past elections.

The latest data from Tompkins County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Stephen DeWitt puts day-of in-person voters at a total of around 15,000 just after 4 p.m. –– that’s over a quarter of eligible voters in Tompkins total casting ballots Tuesday alone.

Combined with absentee ballots –– of which there have been around 11,600 returned so far of the 14,000 total distributed –– and the 13,000 early votes, the county has seen around 67 percent of total eligible voters cast ballots so far.

DeWitt said that Tompkins has typically seen eligible voter turnout reach nearly 79 percent during a general election –– a figure that he says is achievable if turnout continues to go as it has. He continued that 20,000 voters need to cast ballots on election day to reach that total.

“We’ll see what happens in the next 5 hours,” DeWitt said.

All Tompkins County polling places will be open until 9 p.m. tonight, and absentee ballots can be turned in until then. Voters must go to their assigned polling place –– a map of the City of Ithaca’s voting districts and their corresponding polling places can be found here. All other towns and villages in Tompkins can find their districts and polling place maps here.

To stay up to date with Election Day coverage as it unfolds, check out our Election 2020 tab on our website, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and see the resources available in our earlier coverage here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com