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Coverage of the 2016 presidential election from NPR News and related blogs, including candidate profiles, interviews and talking points.On-air specials will also be broadcast as Election Day approaches, including the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.WRVO also provides coverage of regional elections both on-air and online.

Desire to vote in today's primary causing confusion

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)

It’s presidential primary day in New York state. But New York’s closed primary election process is creating a bit of confusion for some voters.

Onondaga County Elections officials say the questions have already started, with constant phone calls from voters who want to know, why they can’t vote in the presidential primary?

“New York state is a closed primary state. So you have to vote the ballot of the party you belong to,” said Onondaga County Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggens Walsh.

Walsh expects this closed system to be an issue at the polls. She says among other things, some voters didn’t know they had to change their party registration last October in order to cast a ballot for a particular party on primary day.

"We had over 3,500 people change their party since the cut off, who can’t vote tomorrow, even though they think they can. And then a lot of people who always vote Republican or Democrat and think they’re enrolled in those parties, but they’re not, so they’re going to show up and be sent away,” said Walsh.

But who knew in October, that both the races for the Democratic and Republican nominations would still be so hotly contested in mid-April, when New York state holds its presidential primary. So because of the intense interest in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says it’s simply best for voters who aren’t quite sure, to check it out before they turn up to vote.

"They can go right to our website, ongov.net/elections, they can look at their registration, see what party their registered in, and call us at 315-435-VOTE and we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions. If you do that before you go to the polls, you’ll be better off,” said Czarny.

If you're outside of Onondaga County, you can look up your party registration, and find your polling place, at the state Board of Elections website.  

Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m.

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.