There are a lot of things New York needs to do to boost voter turnout in general elections and primaries — same-day voter registration, multi-day voting, no-excuse absentee ballots.
But none of those are in effect today, the day when voters in several communities in our area go to the polls to select candidates to represent the various political parties in the November general election.
So if you’re enrolled in a political party and there are races in your community today, you’re just going to have to motivate yourself to vote.
With voter turnout in local primaries in New York ranging from about 5 to 20 percent, you’ve got a good chance to make a real difference if you cast a ballot today.
In some races, the primary is as important as the general election in determining the winner, since the winner often gets the prime party line that will carry them to victory in November.
That could very well happen in Gloversville, where a hotly contested Republican Party primary for mayor between incumbent Dayton King and newcomer Bill Rowback could determine the winner in November.
With only 3,116 enrolled Republicans, and only a few hundred voters expected to vote in the primary, your vote today could be the difference in who the next city mayor is.
In Princetown, the stakes are equally high, as two candidates seek the Republican nomination for supervisor. Incumbent Louis Esposito only took over the top job in December; he faces former Supervisor Michael Joyce. There are only 555 Republicans registered to vote in the town, giving each voter who does turn out some pretty good clout.
In Albany, there’s a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for mayor among incumbent Kathy Sheehan, city Councilman Frank Commisso Jr. and Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin. The winner of the Democratic primary usually goes on to win the general election. It’s that important.
In the Saratoga County town of Milton, one of the two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for town supervisor — Scott Ostrander or Barbara Kerr — will be the next supervisor. Also, three candidates are seeking two council seats in the GOP primary.
There are also primaries in other communities, including Niskayuna and Schenectady.
It’s sad that turnout in elections in New York is so low, particularly in party primaries. But the advantage in that is that voters who do bother to show up and cast a ballot can have a big impact on the ultimate winner.
Don’t remember if you’re registered or what party you’re registered in? Visit the state Board of Elections Voter Registration Search page, and plug in your name, birth date, county and ZIP code. All your voter information will pop up, including the location of your polling place.
Voting is a right that many people have fought for, even given their lives for. Don’t dishonor their sacrifices by staying home when you have a chance to exercise that right.
Even in small primary elections, every vote counts. Make it be yours.