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Officials hope to use this year's early voting numbers as a guide for next year's campaigns

Jason Smith
WRVO News (file photo)

Politicians will be digging deep into the early voting statistics from this year, the first year it has been available to voters in New York state, and it could alter some strategies in races going forward.

Central New York Congressman John Katko (R-Camillus) said he’ll be drilling down into the early voting numbers in the 24th District, which covers all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the western half of Oswego County.

"It’s going to be really instructive for us next year to see how things went this year. It’s a great test case to see how early voting worked, who turned out early, who turned out late, who turned out for either side. So we’re going to learn for next year," said Katko.

Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey agrees there’s much to learn from the first year of early voting, even if it was an off year. He said it could certainly affect the political ground game, if people are casting ballots more than a week before Election Day.

"Do we need to get our mail in peoples boxes sooner? Do we need to front load our TV ads? Do we need to do something in our door to door and GOTV calls? Absolutely," Dadey said.

Early voting is thought by many to benefit Democrats, and it only became law in New York after a newly Democratic-controlled state Senate pushed through a series of election reforms. Onondaga County Democratic Party Chair Pam Hunter says it’s another tool in the electoral toolbox.

"It really expands the opportunity for people who feel like maybe they’ve been really left out of the process, that they too, can have an opportunity to vote," Hunter said.

1.9% of all registered voters in New York State went to the polls early to cast ballots in local elections this year according to elections officials.

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.