WXXI AM News

voting

During Tuesday's primary, WXXI News heard from voters across Monroe County about issues at the polls: they expressed confusion over polling locations changing, multiple ballots, challenges with technology, and more. Some candidates have shared concerns about possible voter suppression. So what happened?

This hour, our guests talk about what they saw on Primary Day, and what needs to change heading into November's election. We hear from local voters as well. Our guests:

Long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Georgia's primary election renewed conversations about voting rights, especially those for disenfranchised voters. The New York Times called the issues a "full-scale meltdown of new voting systems." Those systems were put in place after claims of voter suppression in 2018.

Discussions about voter suppression are happening throughout the country, with concerns about what could happen in November. This hour, we're joined by RIT professor Donathan Brown to discuss voting rights and policies. His research focuses on race and public policy, and he's the co-author of "Voting Rights Under Fire: The Continuing Struggle for People of Color." He helps us understand voting issues throughout the country, both past and present. Our guest:

  • Donathan Brown, assistant provost and assistant vice president for faculty diversity and recruitment, and professor in the School of Communication at RIT

Tuesday is Primary Day in New York state, and locally, voters registered in political parties will have a chance to consider races in several contests including those for New York State Assembly and Senate, Monroe County Clerk, and the 27th Congressional District.

There is also a special election in that district, so if you live in the 27th, you actually would be voting twice if you are a Republican, once in the primary and then in the special election. Democrats who live in that district would just be voting in the special election.

Can we hold reliable elections during a pandemic? In June, New York State will hold primary and special elections. November is, of course, the general election. The pandemic means there will be voting from home, voting by mail, and new ways of trying to get out the vote. But will voting be truly accessible to all?

Our guests discuss this vital issue:

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Facing a shortage of poll workers and seeking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Monroe County elections officials are looking to cut back on polling sites for the June 23 primary and are encouraging voters to mail in their votes with absentee ballots.

The typical poll worker, locally and nationally, skews older and falls into an age bracket considered to be at heightened risk for infection. Consequently, fewer are signing up for duty.

File photo

(AP & WXXI News) New York lawmakers want the state to kick in some money to help local governments pay for the rollout of early voting. 

Lawmakers voted earlier this year to allow voters to cast a ballot starting 10 days before an election. That led to complaints from county officials who said they don't have the money to pay for the extra staff, training and record-keeping related to the change.

This week in 1872, suffragist Susan B. Anthony illegally voted in the presidential election. Two weeks later, she was arrested and fined $100.

On this Election Day, we reexamine this moment in history and ask ourselves what lessons we can learn. What would Susan B. Anthony say to people not planning to exercise their right to vote? Our guests:

The turnout rate for young voters is typically far lower than overall turnout, with turnout for midterm elections having been particularly low. In 2014, for instance, census data shows that less than 20 percent of young people voted, compared to about 40 percent of the general population. What will we see tomorrow when voters head to the polls?

This hour, we sit down with young people who are passionate about voting. They discuss their tactics and recommendations for getting out the vote. In studio:

  • Jamal Holtz, vice president of the Students’ Association at the University of Rochester
  • Iman Abid, chapter director of the Genesee Valley Region of the ACLU
  • Nick Nevinger, actor
  • Audrey Sample, volunteer chapter lead for Students Demand Action Rochester

What are the most important issues facing children and families in our community? A local nonprofit -- The Children's Agenda -- has a list of legislative priorities for candidates this election season. They join us to discuss K-12 funding, special education, child care, and more. It's a preview to an upcoming forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.

In studio:

  • Brigit Hurley, director of advocacy for The Children's Agenda
  • Eamonn Scanlon, education policy analyst for The Children's Agenda
  • Mary Hussong-Kallen, communications director for the League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area 

Will 2018 be the year of young voters? November’s election season is projected to be the first in which millennials will outnumber baby boomers as the largest voter-eligible age group. But will young voters go to the polls?

A new survey shows that only 28 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 say they are “absolutely certain” they’ll vote in the midterms. Why? We sit down with young voters to discuss it.

  • Patrick Coyle, graduate assistant at SUNY Brockport
  • Tom Hebert, communications director for Dr. Jim Maxwell for Congress
  • Marykatherine Woodson, assistant director for residence life at RIT

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