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3 mayoral races among top Election Day decisions

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3 mayoral races among top Election Day decisions

Pundits call these off-year elections, but voters in every single town and city in the Capital Regio
3 mayoral races among top Election Day decisions
Election signs greet motorists along Freemans Bridge Road in Glenville last week.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Pundits call these off-year elections, but voters in every single town and city in the Capital Region will have decisions to make on Election Day on Tuesday.

It’s considered an off-year because a president isn’t being picked (not that you’d know it from the way presidential campaigns are being covered). None of the federal and state offices are being filled in 2015, but mayors and council members are being picked in most of our cities, and town supervisors and town boards are being elected, along with town clerks, highway superintendents, assessors and even receivers of taxes.

Hundreds of polling places across the region will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, with voters using electronically counted paper ballots.

Voting information

All polling places throughout the Capital Region are open on Tuesday, Election Day, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you are uncertain where to vote, contact your county Board of Elections:

ALBANY COUNTY

Email [email protected]

518-487-5060

FULTON COUNTY

Email: [email protected]

518-736-5526

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Email: [email protected]

518-853-8180

SARATOGA COUNTY

Email: [email protected]

518-885-2249

SCHENECTADY COUNTY

Email: [email protected]

518-377-2469

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

Email: [email protected]

518-295-8388

If recent history is any indication, turnout will be less than half of registered voters, even though the decisions being made are for who runs government at the level closest to the people — the level at which potholes get patched and a single phone call can sometimes generate action.

In the most prominent election races, voters in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Amsterdam will be picking between incumbent mayors and challengers, and also selecting City Council members. But political control is also at stake in Rotterdam, and voter choices will determine the future of major issues facing Saratoga Springs and the town of Palatine.

In Schenectady, Democratic mayor Gary McCarthy, seeking his second term, is facing the man he defeated four years ago, former Union College president Roger Hull, who is an independent running with Republican backing. McCarthy has cited economic progress in the city since he took office, including the city having landed the Capital Region’s only casino, as a reason to re-elect him, but Hull has said more needed to be done about crime and to build up neighborhoods, and he’s the man to do it.

City Council seats and seats on the Schenectady County Legislature are also at stake.

In Saratoga Springs, Democratic mayor Joanne Yepsen faces a challenge for a second two-year term from Republican-Conservative John Safford. Under the city’s commission form of government, the public works, public safety, finance and accounts commissioners are also elected, and there look like there will be tight races between incumbent public safety commissioner Chris Mathiesen, a Democrat, and former commissioner Richard Wirth, a Republican; and also between Republican public works commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco and Democrat challenger William McTygue.

The Saratoga Springs election outcome is likely to decide the future City Council’s attitude toward a proposed conference center-resort at the Saratoga National Golf Course on the city’s outer East Side — a controversial plan that has generated strong feelings from both advocates for economic development and those who fear the intrusion of commercial development in the city’s rural “greenbelt.”

In Amsterdam, Mayor Ann Thane, a Democrat, is campaigning for a third four-term and facing a challenge from Mike Villa, a Republican and the son of former mayor Mario Villa. Thane cites her efforts to improve the downtown and revitalize the city’s economy, including securing millions of dollars in state grant money to build the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge across the Mohawk River, now under construction, as a potential visitor attraction. Villa is a retired police officer and former Montgomery County fraud investigator who has said he can do more for the city’s redevelopment and can end the bickering that has characterized Thane’s relationship with the Republican-controlled City Council.

In western Montgomery County, the choice in the town of Palatine between incumbent supervisor Sarah Niccoli and Deputy Supervisor Michelle Whiteman will likely decide whether the town proceeds with plans for a new town hall to be built in the Stone Arabia area. Niccoli, a Democrat and skeptic about the plan, has clashed repeatedly with the Town Board majority on the issue.

Back in Schenectady County, a highlight race will determine who is the next town supervisor in Rotterdam, its largest town. There, former supervisor Steve Tommasone, an independent endorsed by the Democrats, is vying with Republican Yvonne Cleveland. For two town board seats, Conservative Evan Christou and Democrat Samantha Miller-Herrera are competing with Republicans Stan Marchowski and Ryan DeBrino.

In rural Princetown, Democrat Robert Myers and independent Michael Joyce are the candidates for supervisor, with town board seats also at stake.

In Saratoga County, voters in the rapidly changing high-tech hub of Malta are picking a new supervisor for the first time in a decade, with the retirement of Republican Paul Sausville. The GOP has nominated a town native but political newcomer, retired Shenendehowa School District principal Vincent DeLucia. He faces Democrat Cynthia Young, who lost to Sausville by only a single vote two years ago.

There are also town supervisor races in the Saratoga County towns of Moreau and Hadley, but in many Saratoga towns, the Republican party dominates so thoroughly that there are no general election contests.

Fulton County residents will be voting on whether to elect former district attorney and County Court judge Richard C. Giardino sheriff to replace Thomas Lorey, though Sportsman candidate Dean Smith opposes him, while District Attorney Louise Sira is running for the County Court judgeship, without opposition. Caroga, Mayfield, Stratford, and the town of Johnstown have supervisor races. Council seats are at stake in Johnstown and Gloversville.

In Schoharie County, Blenheim, Broome, Cobleskill, Conesville, Esperance, Fulton, Middleburgh, Richmondville, and Schoharie have races for supervisor, along with other offices.

Judicial seats on line

But even in communities where there are no local contests, voters have decisions to make. For those who live in the Fourth Judicial District — from Schenectady County north to the Canadian border — there’s a choice for state Supreme Court justice among Warren County Attorney Martin Affredou, Schenectady City Court Judge Mark Blanchfield, attorney Mary Farley of St. Lawrence County and attorney Julie Garcia of Warren County. Two will win 14-year terms.

Anyone uncertain about where their polling place is located can contact their county Board of Elections.

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will operate a statewide Election Day hot line during the general election for voters encountering barriers to access at their polling sites. The hot line is at 800-771-7755, or by emailing the office at [email protected] The line will operate throughout Election Day.

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