Officials working to overcome low voter turnout Tuesday

Local News

Tuesday is Primary Day in the state of New York, and for the first in 50 years New York voters will get to choose their party nominees in June.

Party primaries had been held in September but state lawmakers made a number of changes in New York’s election laws earlier this year to correspond with federal and state primaries that come up during even-numbered years, such as next year.

Erie County Board of Elections Democrat Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said the cost savings of combining the two sets of primaries into one was a major factor.

“It was a pretty strong argument to make the primaries combined so that we are not spending money to have multiple primaries.”

But the Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Ralph Mohr thinks changing the primaries from September, which is a long time tradition, will likely provide incumbents and endorsed candidates more of an advantage.

“It is generally the party faithful come out to vote in primary elections. It is a lower turnout than you would get in a general election, and in some instances where there are not any challenges, there is nothing to vote for.”

The elections commissioners also point out some voting districts might not have a contested primary, which means they will not have a polling place. Interested voters can call the Erie County Board of Elections, at 858-8891, or go to the board’s website.

The polls are open in Erie County from 6:00am to 9:00pm, Tuesday, everywhere else in Western New York, voting is from 12noon to 9:00pm.

Changes in state law now allow absentee voters to drop off their ballots until the polls close at any polling place in Erie County, or the Board of Elections.

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