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Elections and Voter Information

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Voter Services Report March 2018

Voter Services 2018 Elections Calendar
March 20, 2018: Village Election, Delanson, NY
June 26, 2018: Federal Primary
September 11, 2018: State Primary
November 6, 2018: General Election
Schenectady County Voters in the November General Election will vote to elect a US Senator, a member of the House of Representatives 20th Congressional District, the NYS Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, NYS Senators for the 46th and 49th Districts and NYS Assembly members for the 110th , 111th and 112th Assembly Districts and Schenectady County Clerk. In addition, various local government vacancies will occur at the end of 2018 that will be filled in the General Election including a City Court Judge in the City of Schenectady, a town Justice in Glenville and Scotia Village officers including Mayor, two Village Trustees and a Village Justice.

Electronic Voter Guide News LWVNYS has contracted with a different website company, Ballot Ready, to provide the electronic voter guide this year. They will not be subscribing to Vote 411 for the elections. Check out the website for Ballot Ready: You can click on the "Sample Ballot" in the top right corner to see how the candidates are displayed. Ballot Ready will cover all elections in NYS for the federal primary in June, the state and local primaries in September, and the general election in November. Ballot Ready compiles the race and candidate information from multiple sources and uploads the info into their website. Similar to Vote 411, users can enter their address and get info on the races and candidates on their ballot. Source citations for all of the information will be provided and candidates have an opportunity to correct or edit any information provided about them. Leagues will have the opportunity to provide questions to the candidates with responses posted on the website.

National Voter Registration Day 2018 is Tuesday Sept. 25. In 2017 we registered 56 voters at 6 locations; in 2016 we registered 113 at 4 locations. We hope we can top both of those totals in
2018. Efforts are also being discussed to step up a Get Out the Vote effort this year. Plenty to do for Voters Services---hope you'll join us.

Kay Ackerman
Voter Services Chair

Voter Services Report February 2018

A Look Back at Election 2017 - Information provided by the Schenectady County Board of Elections noted that 98,680 residents of Schenectady County were registered to vote in the 2017 election. Of those, only 34,749 voted (35%). In 2016 almost double that amount voted (67,905 out of 104, 072 or 65% of eligible registered voters). But 2016 was a presidential election year and traditionally more voters come out in those election years. These statistics only support the need for more effective get out the vote actions. Voter Services is interested in hearing any suggestions from members regarding programs we could put into action this coming year to get more people to vote. Regarding the Constitutional Convention ballot proposal, 4,516 Schenectady County residents voted YES and 28,738 voted NO. (12 people overvoted and 1483 did not vote either way).

Proposed Election Law Amendment - The NYS Assembly is considering an amendment to the election law that would require counties to provide return postage on all absentee ballots delivered to qualified voters. Supporters of this amendment say that voting is one of the most basic fundamental rights afforded citizens of a democracy. We do not charge a price to vote at the polling place and voting absentee shouldn't cost the voter either. Opponents argue that this is one more mandate from the state to local government with no financial assistance to carry it out. The bill number is A01777 if you want to follow it.

Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair

Candidate Forums/Voter Resources

Candidate Forums: The LWV of Schenectady County and the AAUW partnered in moderating Candidate Forums. All forums were taped; if you missed a forum or would like to see it again you can see it on YouTube or Open Stage Media.

  • City of Schenectady - held Wednesday September 27 at 6 PM in McChesney Room, County Library Downtown Branch
  • On YouTube

    On Open Stage Media

  • Town of Niskayuna - held Thursday October 19 at Niskayuna Town Hall starting at 7 PM
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 3 (3 seats)
      Town Supervisor
      Town Board (2 seats)

      On YouTube

      On Open Stage Media

  • Town of of Glenville - held Wednesday October 25 at Glenville Municipal Center at 7 PM
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 3 (3 seats)
      Town Board (2 seats)

    On YouTube

  • Town of Rotterdam - held Thursday October 26 at 7PM at Rotterdam Senior Center 2639 Hamburg St., Rotterdam
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 4 (2 seats)
      Town Supervisor
      Town Board (2 seats)
      Receiver of Taxes

      On YouTube

      On Open Stage Media

Voter Resources:

  • - Candidates for National, state and local offices have been invited to submit responses about their backgrounds and positions. You will find brief biographical information along with photos, experience and qualifications of each candidate running in your voting district. In addition, candidates will reply to pertinent questions in their own words.
  • For general information about registering, elections and voting you can contact:

    LWV Schenectady County.

    Schenectady County Board of Elections 518-377-2469

    New York State Board of Elections 518-473-5086

    Candidate Forum Policy

    Goal: to educate voters on the issues; to stimulate voter interest; to encourage voter participation in elections; to present programs in a nonpartisan manner

    All candidates for office who meet New York State election law requirements to be on the ballot and are involved in contested races are eligible to take part in candidate forums.

    New Policy Prohibiting Open Chair Candidate Events

    Our past policy on prohibiting open chair debates or forums for federal races was in accordance with FEC regulations which stipulate that providing a platform for a federal candidate to address the public is considered to be a contribution of "something of value" and subject to contributions or expenditures limitations and prohibitions of federal election laws. However, a non-profit 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 can stage a debate or forum without triggering the finance campaign limitations provided that the debate includes at least two candidate

    These regulations according to FEC as well as FCC and IRS regulations are not limited to just candidate debates but all candidate meetings where candidates are making appearances.

    Having different rules for federal and nonfederal races leads to confusion among the candidates who did not understand why some debates could be held with one candidate and others could not.

    The rationale that underlies the FCC prohibition on empty chair debates--that such practice is tantamount to a contribution to the candidate who appears, applies as strongly to the state, county or local level as it does to federal elections. As we all can agree, it is in blatant violation of the League's non-partisan policy to make a financial contribution to a candidate.

    In certain areas of the state, where candidates from one party often run unopposed, the League can be perceived as being partisan by providing a forum for that candidate and party to speak.

    The state board has considered the many questions and concerns before adopting the new policy. The goal of this new policy is to have consistency across the state for all League events, and even more importantly, to confirm our nonpartisanship publicly. Remember that as long as you have at least 2 candidates for a race, you can hold the event, you don't need to have all, or even 2 from the major parties any, 2 candidates for a race is allowed.

    We understand the view that the public has a right to hear from candidates and prohibiting an open chair event gives a candidate, often an incumbent, the power to control whether the event is held or not, thus preventing the other candidate from being heard. Although the debate cannot be held, the following steps can be taken to avoid this result and still conform to the new policy.

    If a candidate forum/event is being held for multiple races on the same evening (e.g. town supervisor and town board), and only one candidate is present for one of those races (notified in advance or not), the forum/debate for that race cannot be held. The moderator can and should make a statement in the beginning of the event explaining why the specific forum was cancelled citing a lack of response or a negative response by the non-appearing candidates. The moderator can then introduce the candidates in the audience whose forums were cancelled, The candidates can stand and be recognized and, although not allowed to speak at that time, can speak individually to the voters following the formal part of the event. They should be encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

    Explanation of the Primary Process in NYS

    Presidential Primaries in New York State

    The Democratic and Republican primaries in New York State are different in important ways, but have similarities. Both are "closed" primaries; participation is limited to the voters who have registered in the party that is sponsoring the election. While delegates are not bound by any law to vote for any particular candidate at the party's national convention, both parties have "pledged" candidates who vote for the candidate to whom they are "pledged". Both parties also have "un-pledged" and/or "super" delegates, who are not committed to a particular candidate. A certain number of delegates in each party participate because they occupy a particular elective or party position. Before the primary, candidates submit to the board of elections a list of delegates from each congressional district that are committed to them. These delegates actually appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary, along with a statewide presidential democratic candidate, but do not appear on the ballot in the Republican primary.

    Details of the Nominating Process

    Democrats: "Proportional" Primary, 281 delegates at stake New York Democrats have a total of 281 delegates, 151 of whom are "pledged" and will be elected proportionally based on the results of the February 5th primary within each congressional district. In addition, 45 are automatic and/or chosen from party leaders. The remaining 85 delegates are selected at a state Democratic committee meeting in May.

    The Democratic Party in New York always uses a proportional method for awarding delegates. The percentage of delegates each candidate is awarded (or the number of undecided delegates) is representative of the number of primary votes for the candidate.

    The Democratic Party primary in New York is really a "dual primary." Candidates for president appear on the ballot and run against each other in a statewide primary, and delegates and alternate delegates run in each congressional district. Delegates and alternates are either committed to a presidential candidate or uncommitted, and males and females are equally represented among the delegate choices for a candidate.

    Republicans: "Winner-take-all" Primary, 101 delegates at stake

    The National Republican Party, unlike the Democratic Party, allows each state to decide whether to use a "winner-take-all method" or the "proportional" method. In the winner-take-all method, the candidate whom the majority of caucus participants or voters support receives all the delegates for the state. New York is a "winner take all" state.

    In New York, the selection of delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention is determined by a statewide primary of candidates for the office of President. Unlike the Democratic primary ballot, the names of the delegates and alternate delegates do no appear. Based on the results of the February 5th presidential primary, 87 of the state's 101 Republican delegates are allocated to the presidential candidate with the most votes statewide. At a Republican state committee meeting, the remaining 14 unpledged delegates are selected from party leaders.

    Local Boards of Elections

    City Council and Town Board Meetings

    Schenectady City Council meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays at the City Hall, 7 p.m.

    Glenville Town Board meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at the Municipal Center, 7:30 p.m.

    Rotterdam Town Board meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Assembly Hall, 7:30 p.m.

    Niskayuna Town Board: Call 386-4592 for the schedule

    Schenectady County Legislature Meetings

    The Schenectady County Legislature meets the 2nd Tuesdays in the County Office Building at 7 p.m.

    Local and State-Wide Political Information

    Click here for political information about the City and County of Schenectady, the Capital District Area, and Statewide Politics.

    The above is a web-site maintained by the SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE, a service of the Schenectady County Public Library.

    The League of Women Voters Education Fund conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:

    • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

    • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.

    • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

    Donations to the Education Fund, a 501(c)(3)corporation, are fully tax-deductible where allowed by law.