EDITORIAL: Primaries are a special opportunity for voters

(Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)

(Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)

Voting in the summer?

Yeah right, what good would that do?

Turns out, it can do a lot — if you’re one of the voters in several area communities who have an opportunity to vote in primary races today, and especially if you’re one of those people who are smart enough to realize the implications.

Today is the main day for voting in primary contests. (Thanks to early voting; it’s not a single day anymore.)

In some communities and counties today — including the city of Schenectady, Saratoga and Schenectady counties, Corinth, Clifton Park and others — voters will be selecting the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot for their respective political parties in November.

All of the primary races today are for local government seats — the boards closest to the voters and those that can have the most direct impact on such issues as local property taxes, local laws, residential and business development, traffic, road maintenance, parks and recreation, and zoning.

Solar arrays? Snowplowing and potholes? Housing development? The people on these ballots are the folks that make the decisions on those issues – council members, legislators, supervisors and justices.

The primaries are a special opportunity for two reasons.

One is that the winners of today’s primaries either gain a major party seat, which gives them an advantage in November over third-party candidates, or they gain a second or even third ballot position in November, which puts their names before voters on the same ballot more than once, increasing their visibility and the chances of getting more votes.

In many cases, the winners of these primaries go on to ultimately win the seat in the general election,. So if you vote in primaries, you have a heavy hand in who eventually serves, and therefore an impact on the makeup of your next local government board.

The second reason this is a special opportunity is that so few people vote in primaries. Unless it’s a really visible race, like the mayor’s race in New York City this year, primary turnout in local elections rarely tops single digits. If you’re a member of that party, and 90-95% of your fellow enrolled voters aren’t voting, you have special clout.

If you’re enrolled in a political party and there are candidate challenges within your party, you get to vote twice — once to determine the candidate who will represent your party in the general election and again in November. Be sure to search The Gazette website in case you missed our articles on local primaries in your area.

If you’re unsure of your voter status and eligibility to vote in the primaries today, go to the state Board of Elections Voter Lookup site at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/ and plug in your information.

It’s a special opportunity to make a difference in your community.

Don’t waste it.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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