Capital Region

Early voting starts Saturday, with COVID-19 rules

Democratic presidential primary and a handful of regional races at stake
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Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

CAPITAL REGION — Early voting in connection with the June 23 state primary elections starts this Saturday, with all counties in the Capital Region having at least one polling site open every day through Sunday, June 21.

People who chose to vote early in the Democratic presidential primary of any of several regional or local primaries are asked to wear masks and maintain six-foot social distances while at the polling place, and polling places will have hand-sanitizer stations and other measures intended to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

How many people will vote early this year is unknown. Turnout is expected to be extremely light given the limited number of races, and there has been a large increase in absentee ballot requests because of concerns about COVID-19. But state guidance to local boards of election suggests some people may use early voting as a way to avoid any crowds on Primary Day.

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The biggest primary — at least in theory — is the Democratic presidential primary between former vice president Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I- Vermont. With Biden already having won the nomination and the New York state primary already having been postponed from April because of the pandemic, state officials planned to cancel the primary, but it was re-established after Sanders’ supporters successfully challenged the cancellation in court.

In addition to that primary, Capital Region races of note include one in the 19th Congressional District, where lawyer Kyle van deWater of Millbrook and fashion designer Ona Howatmeh of Pleasant Valley are competing for the Republican nomination to run against incumbent freshman U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck.

In the 49th state Senate District, Thearse McCalmon and Donovan McRae, both of Schenectady, are competing for the Democratic nomination to face entrenched incumbent Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, in the fall. In the 111th Assembly District, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, faces off against Republican challenger Paul E. DeLorenzo for the Conservative party nomination; the two will face off again on the major party lines in November.

Schenectady County will have four locations where early voting can take place, while Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties will each have early voting at only one location, at their county Board of Elections offices.

Last year, the first year of early voting, Schenectady had locations at the Karen B. Johnson Library, the Glenville Senior Center, Niskayuna Town Hall, and at the ViaPort Rotterdam mall. This time, with ViaPort closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Rotterdam polling place will be at the South Schenectady Fire Department, 6 Old Mariaville Road, but the other polling locations remain the same.

“We ask all voters to wear a mask when voting in person and adhere to social distancing measures, to help keep poll workers and other voters safe,” said Schenectady County Elections Commissioners Amy Hild and Darlene Harris.

Polling hours at all locations are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14; noon to 8 p.m. Monday, June 15; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 16; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 17; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19; at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21.

On Primary Day, June 23, all polling places in all Capital Region counties will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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