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It’s Village Election Day In New York

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WAMC photo by Patrick Garrett
Polls are open until 9 p.m.

Residents in many villages across New York head to the polls today to elect mayors, trustees and other local officials.

Village elections, for the most part, are described by officials as "quiet" and "low-key."  Executive director of the League of Women Voters of New York State Laura Ladd Bierman says these local elections constitute a hodgepodge.    "It's very difficult to obtain a list of all the elections today. Everything is so decentralized in New York State that to obtain a list of who exactly has elections today is very difficult."

Getting word out, Bierman says, is half the battle.   "This is an unusual time of year for an election, so many times people aren't aware that there is a village election today, so our local leagues around the state are trying to make sure people are aware of that."

Bierman points out that village elections do not necessarily have to be run by county boards of elections, and the boards themselves sometimes have no knowledge of them.

For example, Montgomery County Board of Elections officials say most villages there are holding elections today, while in Schenectady County there are none.

In Greene County, voters in Athens will elect a mayor and two village trustees.

In the Herkimer County village of Poland, Mayor Mary Paul is stepping down for personal reasons. But there are no candidates running, so the race will be decided by write-in votes.

Kim Tranter, Republican commissioner with the Herkimer County Board of Elections, says situations like this often prompt voters to call or drop by with questions about their local contests. She notes that sometimes village elections fall under county jurisdiction.    "So see if a village wants to go to, let's say they decide to go the county, the county then has to program their machines, we have to order ballots, we have different poll workers than a village would have who would all have to be trained every year by our laws, and they are not governed by our laws although there is a section in election law that does cover village elections. So what Herkimer County did this year is we had a meeting jointly with all the village clerks to see how we could work together and how we could help them and thereby eliminate all these people coming in our door."

In Saratoga County, Ballston Spa, Galway, Schuylerville and South Glens Falls are holding elections, as is the Albany County Village of Altamont, where voters will elect two trustees and one village justice.

The polls are also open for local positions in the villages of Catskill, Coxsackie and Tannersville.   Bierman says all of these "small elections" count.    "These elections are actually probably more important than even the national election. When you're electing your local officials, they have more impact on your day to day life than the national election. So even though people think these are not as important an election, these are very important as to what's happening in your village or town, and people should understand that they really need to get out and vote today."

Polls are open until 9 p.m.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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