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Politics and Government

Onondaga County pushing to move local elections to November

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The Onondaga County Board of Elections is urging local villages to move their election dates to November.  

Currently, central New Yorkers who live in villages choose their mayors and all the other local elected officials in March or June. That could change if county elections officials have their way. Democratic Election Commissioner Dustin Czarny says the board is asking local governments to consider holding elections in November. Logistically, Czarny says this would be a good time to do it.

“The old lever machines, remember the old lever machines, a lot of villages were using those to run their village elections,” said Czarny. “They no longer can do that legally. They now have to use our machines, or paper ballots to do their village elections. So now that they have to use our machines their costs are going up a little bit more if they hold these elections in March or June.”

Czarny says this cost cutting measure would require local legislation six months ahead of a local election, which is why the push is on now. And it’s not only the price tag of these off-year votes to be considered.  Czarny says democracy would be better served if voters made their choices in November, when other, more high profile elections are held.

“The turnout in village elections is paltry,” he said. They’re like 10%. Most people think about elections in the fall. So moving the elections will not only save these villages money, but you’ll have better participation as well.”

So far, Solvay, Tully and East Syracuse are seriously considering making the change.