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Voters head to the polls for a very 'local' election year

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Voters head to the polls Tuesday to consider a number of contests.

It’s a very ‘local’ year for elections, with no presidential race, no statewide offices, or state legislature or congressional races. But area elections officials say  that sometimes, those are the most important.

This will not be anything like the kind of turnout seen in 2020, even with the COVID-19 pandemic changing some voters’ plans last year. That’s because 2020 was a presidential election year, where turnout in Monroe County topped 70%.

Monroe County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jackie Ortiz says this year’s turnout will likely be more like 25-30%.

But Ortiz and Republican elections commissioner Lisa Nicolay both stress the importance of voting for candidates in local races.

“We still like to remind people that there is still plenty to vote for regardless of where you live,” said Ortiz. “And so even in the city, you still have your County Court races, you still have a City Council race. You still have Democrats and Republicans running for City Council.”

There are also a number of town board races in Monroe and surrounding counties. And among the most closely watched contests are those for the Monroe County Legislature, where Republicans have a slim majority.

Nicolay said that that during early voting, the turnout was slow in the city, but a bit busier in some of the towns.

“Clearly people are voting on the town supervisors where there are competitive races and the county legislature where there are competitive races. So I would imagine if you are a town resident that your polling place is probably not going to be busy, and you hopefully are not going to have to wait, but it probably will be pretty steady,” said Nicolay.

If you are trying to avoid a more crowded polling place, Nicolay said try to avoid voting in the early morning, late in the day or at lunch time.

There are also five statewide ballot propositions, ranging from expanding voter access to guaranteeing New Yorkers the right to clean air and water.  

Voting throughout the state is from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Reporters from WXXI and CITY Magazine will have live election coverage and analysis starting at 9:00 p.m. on AM 1370, FM 107.5, and streaming at and with the WXXI mobile app.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.