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What early voting numbers may be telling us about Election 2022 turnout

A vote here sign points to the entrance of a polling location.
Chris Bolt
Syracuse residents will continue to vote for Mid-Term elections until Nov. 8.

Liverpool resident Jim Keene and his wife took the time on Halloween to cast their votes ahead of Election Day coming up next week. Keene said it was the first time they took advantage of the opportunity.

“I figured we’d get it out of the way too, then we don’t have to go on that Tuesday there," Keene said.

The high number of early voters like Keene and his wife is hinting the upcoming midterm election might see a bigger turnout than usual.

A steady pace of voters were seen at the Armond Magnarelli Community Center at McChesney Park on Monday. By midday, more than 14,000 voters visited one of 10 polling stations located throughout the county, bringing the early voting total – including the weekend — to 8,170, a Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said.

“This is actually a surprisingly large showing, comparative to a presidential election, which you don’t see in a midterm.  I think it’s indicative of a higher turnout election, maybe even higher than 2018, which was another high turnout election for a midterm," Czarny said.   

He estimates about 30,000 to 40,000 people will vote early. Republican County Elections Commissioner Michelle Sardo said the 10 polling locations make it easy to do so. If you wait until Election Day on Tuesday to cast a ballot, Sardo said the only difference might be the location.

“If you’re one of the voters who like to vote just on Election Day, then your polling place is near you—maybe a mile or two from you, if you choose to do that.  If not, you can do the early voting at the 10 sites we have.  You just check our website,” Sardo said.

Voter Anthony LaRusso said he feels the opportunity is a time saver.

“It’s great because there’s no crowd, there’s nobody in there. It’s nice and easy, quick. If you don’t get out of work on time on Election Day, then you gotta hustle. I know it’s open until 9 but, it gets so crowded, sometimes. But this is great,” LaRusso said.    

The first votes to be released on the evening of Election Day will be from early voting. Absentee ballots can still be requested by going to the County Board of Elections.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.