Fewer than half of the voters who voted by mail in the general election are choosing to do so in the primary election.

County officials said that about 16,000 Erie County residents are opting for a mail-in ballot option.

Approximately 175,000 Erie residents are registered for the primary election. About 16,000 voters are choosing to vote by mail.

Erie County election supervisors said that it will take time for people to adjust to this new method.

“It’s a new process and it’s going to take a little bit of time for people to trust, but it is a secure process,” said Tonia Fernandez, Election Supervisor.

Fernandez said that if voters are concerned about mailing in their ballot, they can drop it off in person.

“Once you receive it in the mail, then you have the option of dropping it off in our 24 hour ballot box which is located outside the courthouse and it is under surveillance so it is secure,” said Fernandez.

One first time voter shared how he is choosing to vote before the primary election.

“I voted by mail. Voting by mail is safe. It is easy, convenient, and most importantly it’s secure. You can apply for your mail-in ballot until May 11th and that way you can get it in you can vote. It’s a simple way to vote and make your voice heard in this election,” said Caleb Buzard, First time Voter.

Other voters said that they feel dropping off mail-in ballots is a safer option.

“Voting on election day you get so many people there and we’re old so this is safer right now,” said

May 11th is the deadline to apply to vote by mail.