by LESLIE HANNON
(ROCHESTER, NY)--Voting for the 2020 election is well underway throughout New York State, including at 12 polling stations throughout the Rochester area. In the first 4 days of early voting, more than 44,000 voters have already cast their ballots, according to the Monroe County Elections Board.
Nearly 3,000 of those went to the Genesee Valley Field House in Genesee Valley Park, where the League of Women Voters hosted an early voting kickoff event this past Saturday, October 24th. The event included live music and free refreshments which were enjoyed by a steady stream of voters.
In attendance Saturday were the members of the Psi Omega Zeta chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Founded on the campus of Howard University in 1920, this historically-Black sorority now includes over 150,000 members across the country.
The local chapter of the sorority distributed flyers in the 22nd County Legislative district and organized a motorcade to the Genesee Valley Field House polling station earlier in the day.
“Our sorority is community conscious, action oriented," says sorority member Carla Facey. "So this--just getting out the word to vote--is not even an option. This is what we do.”
She continues, “We just really want to make sure the community knows that we stand with you as we get out and vote.”
Members of the sorority posed with a cutout of Frederick Douglass while they waited for each other to complete the voting process.
When asked why it was important to get as many people as possible to the polls this year sorority member Trevariana Mason says, “One of our fraternity brothers, John Lewis, he was big on voting rights,” speaking of how it’s important to carry on the legacy of Black Americans who have fought for the right to vote.
“People went ten times harder for us to get that right so now we need to use it,” Mason says.
First time voter Byron Bounds says about his experience, “It’s less complicated and faster than I thought it would be. It’s a pretty simple way to make a difference and I’m glad I did it.”
According to the New York State Board of Elections, over 200,000 voters turned out for the first day of early voting statewide, with over 9,000 of them in Monroe County.
As of Tuesday evening, more than 44,000 people had cast ballots in Monroe County, representing just 10% of all registered local voters.
Early voting continues daily throughout Monroe County until November 1st.
LESLIE HANNON is a photographer and volunteer contributor for Reclaiming the Narrative. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.