By Zach Staton SYRACUSE, NY (NCC News) – On Tuesday voters will be asked to help decide who will be on the ballot for November’s mid-term elections.
Democratic primaries in the 1st, 14th, 19th, 21st, and 24th Congressional districts take place from Noon to 9 p.m. The 24th district primary pits former Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez-Williams against Syracuse University professor Dana Balter. Both are vying to race against Republican Rep. John Katko who has been in office since 2014 and is running unopposed in the primary.
Before heading to the polls, it is important to find out voter registration status and where that registration is. In order to participate in the primaries a voter must be registered with a party. For example, if a voter is registered independent they cannot vote in the Democratic primary.
If a local resident is unsure of their registration status or where to vote, the Onondaga County Board of Elections has a solution. A voter can call the County office at (315) 435-8683 or visit the voter registration search engine. On the site, enter the required fields and it will provide registration and polling place information.
Someone may go to a polling place but not show up on the voter rolls, however, this does mean he or she cannot vote. If a voter does not appear on the rolls, he or she should first call the Board of Elections.
“We can look up their voter registration information and see if they may be in the wrong polling place,” said Onondaga County elections commissioner Dustin Czarny.
But if they are not registered at all, an affidavit ballot can be requested. Czarny said affidavit ballots are separated from the rest of the ballots until that voter’s registration status can be verified. Once it is, the vote will be counted 10 days after the election.
“It usually happens when someone moves and did not update their voter registration,” Czarny said. “We check to make sure they were registered, update their information and count their vote.”
Voters should also be aware to not wear anything that promotes a specific candidate into a voting site. On June 14, the Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law banning any political statements in polling places. Despite this ruling, New York still prohibits any candidate names inside election sites.
Czarny also suggested voters should give themselves time while voting, especially during peak driving hours in the late afternoon.
“There may be lines, there may not be lines,” Czarny said. “Voters should give themselves a little time to vote in case of lines.”
Election hours also change during primary elections. Polls will only be open from Noon through 9 p.m. In non-primary elections, poll hours are usually 6 a.m.-9 p.m.