With the 2018 midterm elections just two weeks away, Onondaga County is preparing for increased voter turnout.
“We’re estimating that we will have more registered voters on hand than we did in the 2016 presidential level,” said Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Dustin Czarny. “This is the first time in the last 10 years, and I would hazard to guess almost forever, that we’re seeing higher registration numbers this year than what we saw in the presidential election.”
In addition to competitive congressional and state Senate races, Czarny thinks the results of the 2016 election are motivating voters.
“The ghosts of 2016 are still with us. I think Americans on all sides of the aisle have woken up to the fact that local elections matter, at least I hope that’s the case. Overall this is positive news. I like seeing more activity,” Czarny said.
Originally, there was an issue with mailing absentee ballots, after a judge ruled that four Republican candidates to the state Supreme Court were nominated illegitimately. That has since been resolved.
“This morning we got notice that the appellate division has decided not to hear the case which means that we are going forward with everybody on the ballot,” Czarny said.
Czarny says that even with two weeks left before the election, the county has already received nearly 3,000 more absentee ballot requests than it did in 2014. The county expects a couple hundred additional requests each day until Election Day.
According to Czarny, the court case and other late ballot changes have set up a lot of 12 hour days for the Board of Elections prior to Election Day. Part of the work ahead is testing machines to make sure there is no foul play involved. Czarny says that New York State takes numerous precautions, such as securing servers and registration databases and making sure important information cannot connect to the internet.
“I think we’re pretty secure, but we’re always updating our security. That being said, when nation-states are involved and we’re just a county, we’re always going to be concerned,” Czarny said. “I think we’ve done as much as we can.”
Voters can check their registration and find their polling place at ongov.net/elections.