WRVO 2020

Syracuse University

Worries about the health of the American political system have escalated in recent years, and there are no easy fixes on the horizon. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Syracuse University professors Shana Gadarian and Tina Nabatchi about the good, the bad, and the ugly for American democracy.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Venesky for Assembly Facebook

Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe is being challenged by former Cicero Town Supervisor Mark Venesky in Tuesday’s election. Stirpe is focused on how he’s helped small businesses during the pandemic. Venesky, a Republican, said the Democrat-led Legislature is not listening to central New Yorkers. 

Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter Facebook, Jackson for the People website

Syracuse-area Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter said she’s running for reelection because she has unfinished business. Her challenger, Republican Stephanie Jackson, is a defender of the Second Amendment, school choice and is against vaccine mandates.

New York State Senate

Most of the attention this election season has been focused on the presidential campaign, but there are also a significant number of New York State Senate races in play.

Democrats need just two more seats to gain a supermajority that could potentially override any vetoes of legislation issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

WRVO News/Ed Weber

Central New York’s longest serving state lawmaker is facing a challenge from a Town of Geddes official in this year’s election. Democrat Bill Magnarelli is hoping to win his 12th two-year term in the State Assembly this year, but hoping to stop Magnarelli’s streak is Republican Ed Weber. 

Weber is a deputy supervisor in the Town of Geddes and a retired sheriff’s deputy. He’s also worked for the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety. He said he’s running because of one issue, bail reform, which eliminates bail for someone arrested on certain crimes.

Payne Horning / WRVO Public Media

Republican state Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, who represents most of Oswego County, is being challenged again by Democrat Gail Tosh in the November election. Barclay defeated Tosh handily in the 2018 election. But New York State is facing new challenges, including a $14-15 billion budget deficit.

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

NORWICH, N.Y. (AP) — A hacker attack against an upstate New York county’s computer system raised concern that some emailed absentee ballot applications may not be processed, but the state Board of Elections said voting won’t be affected overall.

The cyber attack on Oct. 18 encrypted about 200 computers operated by Chenango County and hackers demanded ransom of $450 per computer to unlock the files, Herman Ericksen, the county’s information technology director, said Monday. “We are not paying the ransom,” he said.

One of the most competitive congressional races in the country remains a dead heat, according to a new poll.

The poll by Siena College Research Institute shows that incumbent Republican Congressman John Katko and Democratic challenger Dana Balter each have the support of 45% of voters, with 5% supporting Working Families Party candidate Steven Williams, and 4% undecided.


Minor parties in New York face strict new rules this year to keep their candidates on the ballot without having to resort to petitioning for thousands of signatures, and one is making an all-out effort to boost votes on its line.

John Katko for Congress YouTube

Central New York Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter continues to call Rep. John Katko’s ads racist and misogynist in the race for the 24th Congressional District. The Katko campaign accuses Balter of lying in her ads.

Ellen Abbott/Angi for State Senate/Facebook

When Bob Antonacci won a seat on the New York State Supreme Court, he left the state Senate's 50th District seat vacant. The district covers parts of Onondaga and Cayuga counties, and includes parts of the city of Syracuse. This week, Grant Reeher moderates a debate between the two candidates looking to fill that seat. Democrat John Mannion lost to Antonacci in 2018. He's being challenged by Republican Angi Renna. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Early voting begins in New York on Saturday, and continues through Nov. 1, two days before Election Day.

The number of polling places vary from county to county, but each county is required to have at least one early voting polling site. In larger counties with multiple sites, one has to be in the largest urban area. 

Susan Lerner with the government reform group Common Cause has been closely monitoring the early voting procedures.

Carabajal and Lemondes campaigns

Two candidates are running for an open central New York Assembly seat, after Republican Assemblyman Gary Finch announced he was retiring after two decades in office. Republican John Lemondes and Democrat Dia Carabajal share some similar views, but also have different visions to fix the state, which is facing a fiscal crisis and uptick in crime. 

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

Early voting begins in New York state this weekend, and while elections officials are prepared, they aren’t sure how many voters will choose to cast a ballot in a relatively new way to vote in New York.

Rachel May/Sam Rodgers

Central New York Democratic state Sen. Rachel May is running for reelection. Her opponent is Republican Sam Rodgers. The two candidates had a debate over the weekend on the Campbell Conversations. The coronavirus and the state’s $14 billion deficit, were among the main topics.

Julia Ritchey / NCPR

The first debate for New York’s 21st Congressional District was held Monday, and tensions were visible between Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville)  and her Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb. Both candidates outlined their differences on issues ranging from health care to the military during their first of two televised debates.

U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia

The first debate in the race for New York’s 24th Congressional District was held Monday in Syracuse. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Democratic challenger Dana Balter crystalized key campaign points in a debate held by syracuse.com.

In 2018 the race for New York’s 22nd congressional district was very tight and took weeks to settle. In 2020, it looks to be close again.

Rachel May/Sam Rodgers

Democrats in New York are on the verge of winning a veto-proof majority in the State Senate, which could bring profound changes in the state's policies. This week, Grant Reeher moderates a debate between the two candidates running for New York's 53rd State Senate district, incumbent Rachel May (D-Syracuse), and Republican challenger Sam Rodgers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Mail-in ballots are getting more scrutiny than ever before this year. More people than ever are expected to use the option to cast an absentee ballot by mail so they don’t have to go to potentially crowded polling places during the pandemic, and elections officials and candidates are taking steps to make sure every vote gets counted.

U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia

The latest poll looking at the race for central New York's 24th Congressional District race shows Democrat Dana Balter with a slight lead over incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). Each candidate sees advantages in the poll, but Katko's support of President Trump is a clear liability.

WRVO News (file photo)

Friday is the deadline for any new voters in New York to register to vote in this year’s election, and Onondaga County reports a surge in new voter registrations.

Much of the uptick according to Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia

Democrat Dana Balter holds a slim lead over Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in the race for central New York's 24th Congressional District with less than a month to go before Election Day, according to a new poll released by the Siena College Research Institute Sunday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day and pro-voting rights groups are encouraging potential voters to register, and for those who do want to vote, to make a plan in advance.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is requiring board of elections across the state to have ballot drop-off locations at all polling sites. In Onondaga County, ballot drop boxes will be available at every early voting and Election Day poll site, during polling hours, as well as at the Board of Elections, during normal business hours.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

In 2018 the race for New York's 22nd Congressional District seat was extremely close, with Democratic challenger Anthony Brindisi defeating incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney by just over 4,000 votes. This year, Brindisi is the incumbent, and Tenney is the challenger. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Tenney about her campaign, COVID-19, and more. 

Dana Balter campaign

The race for central New York's 24th Congressional District promises to be very competitive, as it was in 2018, where Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) defeated Democratic challenger Dana Balter by about 5 percentage points. This year, Balter is challenging Katko again. She joins Grant Reeher to discuss her campaign and why she says a change is needed. 

WRVO News (file photo)

New York will immediately allow all voters in the state to request a mail-in ballot for the November elections.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed bills into law Thursday that, among other things, allow all eligible voters to cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to vote absentee.

Voters can begin requesting absentee ballots right away from their local elections boards, citing the reason that they fear risks of contracting the coronavirus or any other contagious illness. It greatly expands the prior -- and very limited -- reasons that were permitted to obtain an absentee ballot.

NY scrambling for solutions ahead of 2020 election

Aug 19, 2020
Jason Smith / WRVO News


With Election Day less than three months away and no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, election officials in New York are scrambling to handle an expected spike in absentee ballots.

WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko was last on the Campbell Conversations in May, to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic. He joins Grant Reeher this week to further discuss the pandemic, President Trump's leadership during the crisis, the 2020 election, and more.