New York State Board of Elections talks primary voter turnout

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While this year wasn’t a presidential primary year, there were several high-profile mayoral primaries in New York State’s largest cities.

“It’s pretty clear turnout was low,” said NYS Board of Elections Director of Public Information John Conklin. “There wasn’t any large national or even state elections on the ballot this year.”

Some of the more noteworthy races were the primaries for Mayor in New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester. 

“There were some big local races all over the state. But, pretty much the turnout I would say everywhere was around 19 to 20%,” Conklin said.

In the Rochester Democratic mayoral primary Malik Evans defeated incumbent Lovely Warren, who is under indictment. Over in Buffalo India Walton is poised to beat long-term incumbent Byron Brown in that Democratic Mayoral primary. 

And in New York City, Eric Adams is in the lead among Democrats running for Mayor in the City’s first large-scale ranked choice voting election. That process could take until mid-July to wrap up.

“It will take a while for the absentees to be processed. Then they’ll start figuring out where the percentages are and go through the multiple rounds of each lowest vote getter until they get to two candidates in a head-to-head contest and then a majority will be the winner,” Conklin said.

As far as Early Voting went, Conklin says for some of the smaller counties in the state where turnout was very low, it may be time for the state legislature to give local boards more control during off years. He says while presidential and gubernatorial election years require a full effort by local boards to open up as many sites as possible, “in years like this where the turnout is much, much lower I think they should be given more discretion to open fewer sites or really assess where they need to devote their energies.”

Conklin also notes that legislation to allow people to “cure” their absentee ballots if they made certain mistakes is in effect. It remains to be seen if that will delay the process in any elections.

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