This year's state budget included new election rules that will affect third parties. Under the new provisions, political parties in New York must earn at least 130,000 votes -- or two percent of the total vote, whichever is greater -- in the last preceding election for governor, and the same for its candidate for president in a year when a president is elected. Third party officials and members say the rules are unfair.

We explore the issue this hour with our guests:

  • Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the Working Families Party in New York
  • Alex White, member of the Green Party and former candidate for office
  • Lauren Hall, member of the Libertarian Party, and associate professor of political science at RIT

New York City Board of Elections

As candidates and political parties try to get out the vote on Election Day, another group is working to make sure that once people get to their polling place, they have the tools they need to cast a ballot.

Ericka Jones tracks complaints about polling places that aren’t equipped to help people with disabilities, and tries to find solutions. Jones is the systems advocate at Rochester’s Center for Disability Rights, and she called Election Day “one of the most stressful days” of her year.

File photo

Primary Day in New York state is Thursday for statewide and local races, and the polls are open in our region from noon to 9 p.m.

Besides the statewide races for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, there are a number of local contests.

Why do so few people vote? Last week, in primaries across the country, a very small percentage of voters decided to participate. New York State had particularly small turnout in most of its primary races. That has turned the spotlight on New York voting rules, including hours of voting, early voting, mail-in voting, registration, and more. Does something need to change? 

Our guests discuss how to improve voting access and enthusiasm. In studio:

Despite widespread speculation that Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini would challenge Democratic Incumbent Congresswoman Louise Slaughter again this fall, Assini announced Wednesday evening that he will not be a candidate.

The Republican supervisor says he changed his mind after learning the Monroe County Conservative Party would not be endorsing him. That party will instead back local neurosurgeon Dr. James Maxwell who recently announced  he will seek the GOP nomination in the 25th district against Slaughter, who has held the seat since 1987.

The campaigning and the ads, positive and negative, all wind down today to make way for what really counts…the voting.

It is election day on Tuesday across New York State, with the polls open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Turnout is usually not too strong on what is called an “off-year,” or non-presidential election year, but area elections’ officials are hoping that interest in some key races will still generate a decent turnout.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is introducing legislation that would move Election Day in an effort to increase turnout.

The Fairport Democrat says the ‘Weekend Voting Act’ would move Election Day from the first Tuesday in November to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November.

Slaughter introduced the bill on Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, “In honor of Rochester’s trailblazing activist who dedicated her life to ensuring everyone had equal access to the ballot box,” said Rep. Slaughter.

Tuesday is Primary Day in New York State, and in Monroe County there are 13 primaries in various parts of the county.  But elections commissioners are not anticipating a large turnout, although they always remain hopeful more people will exercise their right to vote.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Tom Ferrarese says they're expecting about an 11 to 15 percent turnout.

Just how many people attended a rally for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is open to a bit of debate, with estimates ranging from anywhere from 6,000 to about 9,000 people at JetSmart Aviation Services on Scottsville Road in Chili on Sunday.

Martin Kaufman / WXXI News

Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich may be behind in the polls compared to the top candidates, but he was still able to attract a very large crowd to the Town of Greece on Saturday.

The crowd at the town's community and senior center was estimated at more than 3,000, including an overflow room, and people who they had to turn away because of space limitations.