Officials anticipate big primary turnout
FINGER LAKES--The contested presidential race will be in New York State Tuesday, April 19, and area election boards are working to prepare for the rush of voters. Republican Commissioner Amy Daines and Democratic Commissioner Bob Brechko of the Yates County Board of Elections (BOE) both anticipate a larger turnout than normal for this year's primary contest. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. the day of the election at the 11 different polling locations in the county.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both on the ballot this year for the Democratic race, with Donald Trump, John Kasich, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz on the Republican ticket. The Democrats will also vote for any five of the national delegate candidates for the 23rd Congressional District. The candidates include Emily Adams, Mathew K. Ashford, Molly E. C. Grover, Donald M. Bazley, Mary D. Thorpe, Barbara Lifton, Svante Myrick, Irene Stein, Shawn D. Hogan and Bushra Sheikh.
New York State reported a last-minute surge in voter registration applications prior to the March 25 deadline to vote in the primaries. Daines said the BOE office has been very busy making preparations for the primary election, which included getting people registered. She said there was an abundance of Yates voters who also made sure they were registered by the deadline, adding there was also a special push through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. Daines noted the increase in voter interest tends to be typical of a presidential election, especially one that guarantees a new face in office.
Daines and Brechko are also anticipating some confusion at the polls as well, noting some people often do not know the requirements of voting in primaries. Since New York State holds a closed election, only registered members of a party may vote in that party's primary. Daines said they will sometimes have to turn away people who are not registered with a party, adding the confusion can sometimes stem from other states holding open primaries without these restrictions. Brechko also said there are always people who want to change their party affiliation. He added this needs to be done well in advance of the primary, with the change filed prior to the general election the prior year in order to take effect for the following year. While new voters had a registration deadline of March 25, previously registered voters needed to request a change in their party enrollment by Oct. 9, 2015, for it to be in effect for the 2016 primary election.
The BOE will have four inspectors at each of the 11 polling locations. Two to four voting machines will also be located at each site depending on the number of registered voters in the voting district. While Daines said it is difficult to predict how many people will actually turn out to vote, she said the BOE is preparing for a larger than normal turnout. Daines said portions of the county have a strong voting base, adding in the 2008 general election, Yates County had a 79 percent turnout from registered voters.
"Our folks do care about the election," Daines said.
Brechko said he thinks more people have registered to vote in the primary because it is a highly advertised race between each party's candidates. While he noted there are more Republicans registered in Yates County, there was a higher percentage turnout of Democratic voters in the 2008 primary, which he attributes to the closely contested race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Residents can cast their votes in the following 11 locations in Yates County:
• Barrington -- Barrington Town Hall -- 4424 Bath Road in Penn Yan.
• Benton 1 and 2 -- Benton Town Hall -- 1000 Route 14A in Penn Yan.
• Italy -- Italy Town Hall -- 6060 Italy Valley Road in Naples.
• Jerusalem 1 and 4 -- Keuka Park Fire House -- 522 Assembly Ave. in Keuka Park.
• Jerusalem 2 and 3 -- Branchport Fire House -- 3686 State Route 54A Bath Road in Branchport.
• Middlesex -- Middlesex Fire House -- 4424 Bath Road in Penn Yan.
• Milo 2 and 3, 5 and 6 -- Penn Yan Academy gymnasium -- 305 Court St. in Penn Yan (for voting, use Liberty Street entrance).
• Milo 4 -- Himrod Fire House -- 3530 Himrod Road in Himrod.
• Potter -- Potter Fire House -- 1255 Phelps Road in Potter.
• Starkey 1 and 2 -- Dundee Village Hall -- 12 Unit St. in Dundee.
• Torrey -- Dresden Fire House -- 3 Fire House Ave. in Dresden.
Republican Commissioner Joseph Fazzary and Democratic Commissioner John Vona of the Schuyler County Board of Elections (BOE) also anticipate a larger turnout than normal for this year's primary contest.
Vona said they have a lot of new voters registering this year, noting they have moved on to working on the poll booths, ballots and ensuring everything is working accurately. He said they had more than 200 new registrants in the final two weeks before the deadline and he is anticipating a 10 percent rise in voters this primary.
"It is going to be an interesting election," Vona said.
Vona mentioned there is normally a 50 to 60 percent voter turnout of all registered voters in the county, noting they are anticipating that number to be 60 to 70 percent this year. Vona noted there is usually a larger turnout in presidential elections, especially when a new one is guaranteed. While he is hoping for a record turnout, he added it will be impossible to tell until election day.
There are 13 different polling locations in Schuyler County, which will have three to four voting booths each. Residents can cast their votes at the following 13 locations in Schuyler County:
• Catharine -- Catharine Town Hall -- 5182 Park Road in Odessa.
• Cayuta -- Cayuta Town Hall -- 6360 Route 224 in Cayuta.
• Dix 1 and 2 -- Watkins Glen Community Center -- 155 S. Clute Park Dr. in Watkins Glen.
• Dix 3 -- Beaver Dams Fire House -- 1165 County Road 19 in Beaver Dams.
• Hector 1 -- Valois-Logan-Hector Fire House -- 5736 Route 414 in Hector.
• Hector 2 -- Searsburg Grange Hall -- 6126 Burr Road in Trumansburg.
• Hector 3 and 6 -- Burdett Fire House -- 3830 Main St. (Route 79) in Burdett.
• Hector 4 -- Mecklenburg Fire House -- 4495 County Route 6 in Mecklenburg.
• Hector 5 -- Reynoldsville Town Hall -- 5097 Route 227 in Burdett.
• Montour 1, 2 and 3: Montour Fire House -- 111 Lee St. in Montour Falls.
• Orange -- Monterey Town Hall -- 899 Hornby Road in Beaver Dams.
• Reading 1 and 2 -- Reading Town Hall -- 3914 County Route 28 in Reading Center.
• Tyrone 1 and 2 -- Tyrone Fire House -- 3600 Route 226 in Tyrone.