Onondaga County voters break turnout record set in 2008
Onondaga County had record-breaking voter turnout in this election with more than 230,000 votes cast. That’s nearly 75% of voters and surpasses the previous record of 220,000 votes in 2008. Nearly half of the total vote came from early voting and absentee ballots, which helped Election Day voting go fairly smoothly.
Pat Mahony of Fayetteville was one of more than 59,000 voters in Onondaga County who voted early this year.
“They’re very organized,” Mahony said.
She was at one of only six early voting locations in the county. Compare that with 155 polling sites on Election Day. Some early voting sites saw long lines, lasting more than an hour. Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said there needs to be several more early voting sites in the future.
“To make sure that people don’t have to travel too long to a voting site, and we don’t have these long lines,” Czarny said.
It was a huge increase in early voting this year, compared to only 8,000 in 2019, the first year early voting started in New York state.
The Onondaga County Board of Elections has also received 53,000 absentee ballots. The COVID-19 pandemic could be used as an excuse to vote absentee this year. Half of those ballots are from Democrats, while about 22% are from Republicans. It could affect at least a couple races.
Republican Elections Commission Michele Sardo said the polls on Election Day were steady with a few lines that moved along very quickly. Only one technical issue was reported in the Town of Lysander with a printer not printing ballots. In the Town of Dewitt, Marian Glisson voted on Election Day, unfazed by the county’s recent uptick of COVID-19 infections.
“And even though I’m technically in a high-risk category, if you’re not stupid about things, it’s perfectly safe to go out,” Glisson said.
As for the absentee ballots, the county Board of Elections will start counting them on Monday, with daily updates on its website. They have until Nov. 28 to certify the results.
Carter Bainbridge with Syracuse University’s Democracy in Action contributed to this story.