POUGHKEEPSIE – On primary election days, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the counties of Orange, Putnam, Westchester and Rockland, but in Dutchess, they are open only from 12 noon to 9 p.m. All five counties are considered commuter counties.
Dutchess County Legislator John Forman would like to extend the Dutchess hours to match the others.
“The voters in Dutchess County should be given the same opportunity to vote, as far as polling hours are concerned,” he said. “It would be for whatever primaries are onboard and I have contacted both elections commissioners to see if there is a fiscal impact for the county because of the extended hours and they are working on that as we speak. There could be a federal primary, there could be a state Senate, state Assembly primary, so it would be for all primary days.”
In order to make the change, the county legislature must approve it and ask the state to give its okay. That would require the Assembly and Senate to pass a “home rule” measure and the governor to sign it.
If it went all the way in Albany, Forman said he would expect to see the extended hours in 2017 primary elections.