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Low turnout expected on Primary Day across CNY

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

Tuesday is Primary Day in New York. With only local races on the ballot, including primaries for mayor of Syracuse, turnout is expected to be low across central New York.

Onondaga County Republican Elections Commissioner Michelle Sardo predicts between 15-20% of eligible voters will go to the polls. Low turnouts tend to be the norm with only local races on the ballot.  If early voting is any indicator, that will be the case this year. Sardo said she was surprised only 1.3% percent of registered voters in the county went to the polls during the nine-day early voting window this year.

"I expected a little more, especially with the mayoral race,” said Sardo. “But the other town races, they’re kind of small so I didn’t expect much of a turnout for those."

Sardo said she doesn’t think a switch a few years ago from September to June primaries has hurt the process. In fact, it’s made it easier.

"It gives us more time. It gives the candidates more time to do what they need to do between elections.  Because it ends in June, you know what candidates are going into the election in the beginning of July.  It gives them an extra couple of months to campaign and do what they need to do,” she said.

There are Republican and Democratic primaries for Syracuse mayor, and several candidates are squaring off in primaries for Syracuse Common Council, in addition to several local races.

Sardo said there will be signs at polling places regarding any requirements about wearing masks.

“If you are unvaccinated you are to wear a mask,” she said. If you are vaccinated you do not have to wear a mask. You must wear a mask if you are going into a school to vote. They still require it."

Sardo says election volunteers will provide masks for anyone who needs one.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday.

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.