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NY Board of Elections warns of phone scammers as voter registration deadline hits

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

Friday is the last day to register to vote in New York State for November’s general election. The state Board of Elections is warning the public about scammers claiming to register people through phone calls and texts.

Scam calls and texts have been reported in the Southern Tier. Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said New York State does not allow voter registration by phone.

“If they’re trying to get you to give personal information over the phone, or texting, and saying that you can register to vote that way, then that’s a scam because you cannot," Czarny said. "You cannot do that over the phone, you cannot do that by text.”

Voter registration forms can be printed out on local Board of Elections websites and submitted in person or by mail. Residents with a a New York State driver's license can fill out an online form through the Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Czarny said voter registration is higher than it was four years ago and he said they will be adding thousands of people to the voter file. The nearly 25 percent turnout in Onondaga County for September’s Democratic primary was triple the amount in 2014 and it follows a trend of more participation in local elections, which could continue.

“That’s the hope, the general feeling that this increased turnout that we’ve seen in primaries, special elections, and the general election last year, will be higher turnout for this year’s general election as well,” Czarny said.

Voters who want to change their party affiliation have to do so online or in person by the deadline, if they want to vote in next year’s primary.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.