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Coverage of central and northern New York's congressional races, including the primary races and the general election.Races covered include the 24th Congressional District, currently held by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who is running for reelection; the 22nd Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), who is retiring; and the 21st Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro).

Surge in voter registration before New York's presidential primary

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There’s been an unprecedented surge in voter interest in next month’s presidential primary in New York State. Central New Yorkers are among the many that want to cast a ballot April 19.

The deadline for new voters to register in a political party and then be eligible to vote in New York’s presidential primary is Friday, March 25.  

Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says there always in an increase in voter registration in presidential primary years, and with hotly-contested races on both the Democratic and Republican side, this year is no exception.

“With the deadline coming up so quickly and with New York playing so heavily in the primary, we are seeing a lot of new registrants registering to vote specifically so that can vote in this primary,” Czarny.

He says the New York State Board of Elections alone has registered more than 500 high school students across the county, and there are also other organizations like the League of Women Voters, as well as candidate groups, that are working to get first time voters registered.

And Czarny says it’s not just the youth joining voter rolls.

"Obviously young voters are always a big make up of new voters because they haven’t registered before. But you’re also going to see a lot of people that either have registered haven’t registered for years and have fallen off the roles and now they’re chasing their registration or they’re just moving to the area. So I think you’re going to see a wide variety of registrants.” 

New voters can register online through the Department of Motor Vehicles, or get an application from their county Board of Election offices.

Czarny expects New York to get a lot of attention in advance of the primary, noting that there are no other states voting in presidential primaries between April 9 and April 19, and New York is the only state holding a primary that day.  Only voters registered in a political party can vote in New York’s closed primary.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.