Primary day expected to draw low numbers

Sep 10, 2013

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

"Primaries are usually one of the lower turnout elections, and it can go any way if there is a motivated electorate to come to the polls," Czarny said.

He also warns voters not to expect to stop to vote on their way to work.

"Polls are open from noon to nine," Czarny said. "It's a little different from general election day. Normally on general election day they're open from six a.m. to nine p.m. On primary day, they're only open from noon to nine."

Four years ago in Syracuse, fewer than a quarter of registered Democrats came out to the polls in a Democratic primary that current Mayor Stephanie Miner won. Czarny expects those kind of numbers, or less, this year as well. Tuesday's primary race pits Miner against two candidates, common councilor Pat Hogan, and Alfonso Davis, who was also in the primary four years ago.

Democratic primary day in Syracuse is also important on the legislative side of things, with two common councilor-at-large seats for grabs and two incumbents, Jean Kessner and Lance Denno, facing party favorites Jeff Wright and Pam Hunter.