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Tune into WAER this election season for comprehensive coverage of local and statewide races. It's the information you'll need to make educated decisions on the races that could have an impact on your life.

Unusually High Voter Turnout Continues in Onondaga County After Early Voting Begins

WAER File Photo

  If you’re surprised about the popularity of early voting in Onondaga County, you’re not alone.  Elections commissioners we spoke with today sounded amazed themselves that more than 40,000 people have already used that option to cast their ballots.  And GOP Commissioner Michelle Sardo expects that crowds to continue this weekend toward record overall turnout.


Credit Jennifer Weekes Osada/WAER News
Lines continued at early voting sites, such as this one in Dewitt, even despite temperatures in the 30s Friday.

“I would expect that if you’re gonna go out to vote it’s going to be very busy. This weekend or on election day there’s going to be lines. I am predicting about 80% turnout. That’s very rare. That’s very high. A very crazy year and a very unprecedented year.” said Sardo.

At times, 900 to a 1,000 people are voting each hour over the 6 early-voting sites.  Sardo says the Clay, Dewitt and Camillus sites have been busiest, with sheriff’s Deputies and Fire Departments helping with traffic.  On top of early voting, Democratic Commissioner Dustin Czarny says more than 42,000 absentee ballots have already been dropped off.  He adds, there’s still time to get an absentee ballot if you have any health concerns or fears.

“You can come into our office between now and November 2nd and get an absentee ballot and vote right here in the office. You can have somebody pick up that absentee ballot for you. Especially if you’re in quarantine, COVID, or some other ailment we just need a note from you saying the reason.” said Czarny.

Credit WAER photo
WAER's News Director utilized the ARMOND MAGNARELLI COMMUNITY CENTER AT MCCHESNEY PARK to cast a ballot.

Czarny suggests anyone voting by absentee ballot might consider dropping it off at an early voting site, election day polling place or the Board of Elections office.  If mailed, it has to be postmarked on or before election day, November 3rd, to be counted.  Weekend voting hours were expanded.  All early voting sites will be open 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 


And even with all the enthusiasm of early voting and absentee ballots, election day is still expected to draw crowds, as voters use their voice in this divided election.


Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
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.