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Onondaga County elections commissioners disagree over number of early voting sites

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Tom Magnarelli
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WRVO News (file photo)

Early voting comes to New York this fall, but in Onondaga County, it’s not without some partisan controversy.

According to state law, counties will be required to open at least one early voting site for every 50,000 registered voters. Onondaga County selected six locations. Two are in the city of Syracuse, with four others spread around the rest of the county. 

Now some Democrats are saying that’s not enough. Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny would like to see eight locations, adding Onondaga Community College, and Cicero Town Hall to the mix.

"We have holes in our northeastern and southwestern corners," said Czarny. "That is why I am fighting for these sites. And by the way, these are Republican towns."

Republican Elections Commissioner Michele Sardo though thinks six is enough. She said it’s one more than what’s required by law, and she is concerned about budget implications down the road.

"I think it’s going to cost the Onondaga County taxpayers a lot more money, because right now, the state is funding for this year and part of next year, but after that there is no more funding," said Sardo.

The League of Women Voters has joined the debate, urging commissioners to ask the state for eight sites. And some Democratic state Assemblymembers want the larger number, as do some democratic candidates for office.

A final plan will be submitted to the state Board of Elections by May 29.

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.