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Early Voting Underway In Onondaga County For This Month's Primaries

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Scott Willis
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Onondaga County Democratic Election Commissioner Dustin Czarny tests voting equipment before it goes out to one of the four polling sites.

Nine days of early voting is underway at four sites in Onondaga County for this month’s primaries. Just shy of 200 people cast their ballots over the weekend. Syracuse voters are choosing to advance their Republican and Democratic mayoral candidates and councilors at large. Democrats in the county legislature’s 15th and 16th districts are also choosing candidates. [Here's the complete list of all primaries] Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says he thinks voters will continue to use all of their options even as we emerge from the pandemic.

"We're learning that voters like the different models; you have mail-in voting, early voting, and election day. Eventually, we're going to see an electorate that equally participates in each of the three phases."

Meanwhile, state lawmakers just approved a bill that would require counties to offer more early voting polling sites. The measure has been sent to the governor, and if signed into law, would mandate ten early voting sites in Onondaga county for the 2022 midterm – that’s up from the current six polling sites. Republican Elections Commissioner Michele Sardo says the increase may not be necessary for local elections and put an undue burden on taxpayers.

"It would require a lot more work because we'd have to prepare for four more sites. It's a lot of money to spend coming from the taxpayers, especially if it's not funded [by the state]. Federal years...yes, I support more polling sites for federal, presidential, gubernatorial elections. Local years are tough because there's such low turnout."

This is where the commissioners disagree. Czarny says more early voting sites doesn't necessarily equate to higher costs.

"The amount of money we spend is not about the site itself; it's about the number of personnel we need to operate the sites. When you dissipate people over a large amount of space, you'll be able to have fewer workers at each site. It's not a one to one comparison."

Early voting starts Saturday and continues through next Sunday, June 20th. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is June 15th. More information about early voting locations, or how to apply for an absentee ballot is at onvote.net.

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Scott Willis
These are the four early voting sites in Onondaga County.