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Early voting continues to grow as Election Day arrives

Jason Smith
WRVO News (file photo)

Tuesday is Election Day in New York. In this off-year election, voters will choose local lawmakers,judges, as well as the mayor of Syracuse. There are also five statewide ballot propositions on the back of the ballot, ranging from expanding voter access to environmental issues.

Some voters have already cast a ballot, as the state’s early voting program continues to become established. There’s been a substantial jump in the number of people casting ballots before Election Day. Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny cites a 13% jump in the number of voters choosing to cast ballots before Election Day this year, compared to the last off-year vote in 2019.

“Almost 15,000 people (in Onondaga County) have voted early through absentee or early voting,” Czarny said. “It’s a decent jump from 2019. We’ll have to see if that means a decent jump in turnout."

And Czarny notes that these increases jive with what’s happening in other parts of the country that have established early voting. It seems to grow with time.

“As more and more people get to know it’s out there, and that it’s convenient for them, they tend to use it,” he said. “And I think we are already seeing that now."

The question is how it translates to the final voting turnout figures.

Off-year elections generally spur the lowest percentage of registered voters to the polls. Turnout in Onondaga County in 2019 was 33%. It was 37% in 2017, the last time a Syracuse mayor was elected.

Nearly 10,000 people voted at early polling places this year in Onondaga County, and at least 5,000 absentee ballots will have to be processed after Election Day.

WRVO Public Media will have live results online after the polls close, and we’ll have a full wrap-up of races Wednesday morning on Morning Edition.

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.