SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)— More people in Onondaga County have registered to vote this year compared to the 2014 midterm elections.
Dustin Czarny, Onondaga County Election Commissioner, said recent political events have sparked a resurgence in local voting.
“There’s been an awakening that local elections matter, that local offices matter, that midterms matter,” Czarny said.
Czarny said there’s been a large push to encourage voter registration. Groups like the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and League of Women Voters work year-round to help register people to vote. This year, the impact of these groups has been especially noticeable.
“You’re seeing mobilization in this midterm that’d you’d normally see in presidential elections,” Czarny said.
With the voter registration deadline quickly approaching, NYPIRG has pursued last-minute efforts to encourage college students to register.
“On Friday, we’re going to have a campus-wide blitz,” said Ethan Thompson, project coordinator for NYPIRG SU/Suny ESF. “We’re not stopping until the deadline.”
NYPIRG and other groups use face-to-face outreach, presentations and voter registration drives to reach as many people as possible. This year, Thompson said he noticed a significant increase in political participation throughout the community.
“The understanding of the political atmosphere is growing right now,” Thompson said.
Czarny said 288,000 people were registered to vote in Onondaga County at the time of the primaries this year. He added he hopes to have 12,000 more register by Friday.