BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Voters will be heading to the polls on Tuesday for the second primary this summer. Some are expecting low turnout because of the split election.
The Congressional and State Senate primaries were pushed back from June to August because of the lengthy redistricting process in Albany. Due to the Census and population decline, New York State lost a Congressional seat and thus the lines had to be redrawn.
“It’s a mess. I’ve been in politics all my life and I’ve never seen a more confusing mess than what we’ve got this year in this primary in August,” political analyst Carl Calabrese said.
Featured races in Erie County include the Republican Primary in the New York 23rd Congressional District between businessman Carl Paladino and state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy. In the new map, the district includes most of southern and eastern Erie County.
There is a Democratic Primary in Congressional District 26 where Rep. Brian Higgins is running against Emin Eddie Egriu.
There are primaries on both sides of the aisle for State Senate District 61. On the Democratic side, Sen. Sean Ryan, who currently represents the 60th district, is running against Benjamin Carlisle. Sen. Edward Rath, who currently represents the 61st district, is running against Joel Giambra, who withdrew from the race, but will still be on the ballot.
“Its going to come down to turnout and that old-fashioned grunt work in the trenches, so to speak, as to who does the job of getting their vote out,” Calabrese added.
Experts say the split election is causing confusion for voters because they may be voting in a new district or they may not have an election to vote in at all.
“I am a little concerned that not everyone is going to have their voices heard. Candidates have spent a lot of money especially in the Congressional races to get the word out,” Erie County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said.
Voter turnout for this primary is expected to be low and Erie County Elections Republican Commissioner Ralph Mohr is blaming all of the confusion.
“Well it is going to be a bit confusing because in the 23rd Congressional District, only registered Republicans are eligible to vote. In the 26th Congressional District, only registered Democrats are eligible to vote,” Mohr said. “I anticipate about 18-20% voter turnout in the elections.”
While some Americans are skeptical about elections, Mohr says the county’s system is secure and he does not expect any fake results.
“There’s no possibility of being able of intercepting results or change results or to send results to the Board that are inaccurate and that are not from our approved machines,” Mohr continued.
Even though the general election is still months away, voting in the primary is still important according to the experts.
“I wouldn’t take anything for granted at this point in our country’s history,” Zellner said.
In Erie County, polls will open Tuesday at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. The Board of Elections says they will begin processing results at 9 p.m. For more information on what elections are on the ballot and where to find a polling place in your neighborhood, visit the Board of Elections website.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.