State primary day brings confusion

Sep 13, 2012

It's a quiet primary day in Central New York this year.  There are only scattered elections across the area on the day that lets voters, registered in political parties, choose who will be on the November ballot.


This is the third primary this year, following a presidential contest in April and a federal primary in June.

Generally the state combines the federal and local primaries, but Onondaga County Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggins Walsh notes this primary is for state and local races only, because state lawmakers couldn't agree on a single primary date this year.

"This is our third primary this year, so we are getting really good at them.  So hopefully the state legislature will get their act together in the future and join these two primaries, the federal and the local," said Walsh.

But, she is not convinced the trend of multiple primaries in New York will end anytime soon. "I doubt they'll act next year because there are no federal elections. And then they'll be back fighting again in 2014, and hopefully they'll come back with a date they agree on."  

In addition to multiple primary dates, today's election is on Thursday, because the usual Tuesday primary date was the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, and the changes lead to a bit of confusion.

"People are used to primary day being the second Tuesday of the month and it did get switched.  It happened five years ago as well when it fell on the eleventh, so we were expecting that," said Walsh. "I think there's more confusion that people think they can vote in the primary, when it's such a small primary."

The biggest race in the region is probably for the 51st State Senate seat, in the Oneida area, which pits political newcomer Jim Blake against 26-year incumbent James Seward. 

In Onondaga County, there's only one election -- in the town of Pompey for town justice.