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Politics and Government

Turnout expected higher in Syracuse as voters decide close mayoral race

Onondaga County Board of Elections
Polling sites in Onondaga County will be handing out “I Voted” stickers celebrating 100 years of Women’s suffrage.";s:3:

Today is Election Day and more than 200 offices are on ballots in Onondaga County, from the county legislature to the mayor of Syracuse.

The latest Siena College/Spectrum News/Syracuse.com poll has independent mayoral candidate Ben Walsh leading by two points over Democratic candidate Juanita Perez Williams.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said he expects turnout for the race higher than it was four years ago.

“Historically, city turnout has been trending downward," Czarny said. "In 2009 and 2013, we were at 32 percent and 24 percent respectively. But the mayor’s race was not seen as competitive in those two races.”

He said if the race is too close to call on election night, the candidates will be invited to view the process of double-checking the ballots.

“We will then count all absentees and affidavits, 10 days after Election Day on the Thursday, we will start counting those," Czarny  said. "Once they are counted and verified, we will certify the election.”

Czarny said it could take even longer if there are any court challenges.

“Election Day doesn't stop here at the board of elections," Czarny said. "November is very busy for us. That’s how we certify this election. We usually get certified by December 1. But if something is really, really close. We may have that process slow down a little bit.”

In the Onondaga County Legislature races, Democrats are running against eight Republican incumbents. Conservative Republicans are challenging Republican incumbent legislators in a couple races.

Across the region, residents will vote on three propositions, including a constitutional convention, Adirondack land bank and stripping pensions from corrupt officials. In Onondaga County, residents will vote on a fourth proposition that would give the county sheriff control over jails.