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Voters must register by Friday to be eligible for June 23 primary

Nicole DeMentri
WRVO News (file photo)

Voters in New York have until Friday to register to vote in time for the state's June 23rd Primary. This year, voters will be able to either go to the polls, or vote by absentee ballot.

The state has mailed out absentee ballot applications to everyone eligible to vote in the primary. Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said more than 15,000 thousand voters have asked for an absentee ballot in Onondaga County.

"That is a tremendous record for a primary," said Czarny. "It’s actually eclipsing the 2016 general election numbers, which was a record for absentee voting."

Because of that, Czarny expects a large mail-in vote for this primary.  The June 23 election includes the Democratic presidential primary, state legislative races, and in central New York, a Democratic congressional primary between Dana Balter and Francis Conole, to determine who will face Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in the November election for the 24th Congressional District.

Czarny said if people request a ballot, they can still choose to go to the polls.

"They may change their mind come close to Election Day, they may feel like the risk over the assurance we’re making to have our sites clean and safe is something they want to do," he said. "But I think most people who can vote absentee are just not going to vote on Election Day, they’re going to stay home."

There will be a scaled back number of polling places open if voters feel comfortable going to the election sites that follow pandemic protocols. And with all these possible absentees to count, candidates might not know if they won or lost on election night.

"You know the winners declared on election night were never official winners anyway," Czarny said. "They aren’t official until they are certified 25 days later. So the instant gratification of the results may be delayed unless the outcome is severely lopsided."

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.