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Voter registrations surge ahead of October 9 deadline

WRVO News (file photo)

Friday is the deadline for any new voters in New York to register to vote in this year’s election, and Onondaga County reports a surge in new voter registrations.

Much of the uptick according to Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Voter registration during the summer and spring was almost non-existent because of the coronavirus," Czarny said. "The DMV’s were closed. They usually generate new voter registration changes, address changes, and they got pushed until after Labor Day when we starting seeing a tick up."

Czarny said that voter registration also tends to go up during presidential election years. 

"People who are turning 18, it’s people who are moving to the area," he said. "It may be people that may not have voted for four years, and fell off the rolls because they were inactive, and are now activating themselves."

The interest this year could break a record for voter registration in the county. Czarny said there were 302,000 registered voters as of early this week.

"We need to get to 307,000 to break the record. We’ve got about 12,000 forms behind. We get thousands a day, but we're processing thousands a day, and we’ll know by the end of the week."

Registrations must have a postmark no later than October 9, or they can be dropped off at the Board of Elections office by the end of the business day Friday. New voters can also register online up until midnight Friday through the state Department of Motor Vehicles, as long as they have a New York-issued ID card, like a driver’s license.

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.