Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.


This is a busy time of year for Voter Services. We have voter registration commitments to meet, candidate forums to organize and election night returns to collect. All these activities are undertaken between now and November 9th! We are hoping every able-bodied League member will volunteer to help out in one capacity or another. For example, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson would like us to offer voter registration opportunities to their patients when their clinics are open, Wednesdays 3-4 PM and Fridays 8-11 AM. We would like to be a presence at the Greenmarket in downtown Schenectady on Sundays 10-2 PM (shorter shifts could be arranged). In addition we would like to make arrangements to visit food pantries, and at any special events, festivals or gatherings that may take place between now and October 10th, the last day residents can register to vote in the 2014 November elections. If you know of an event where you think we could effectively reach County residents who may not yet be registered to vote please let us know.

Tuesday, September 23rd is National Voter Registration Day and LWV Schenectady County is joining other Leagues across the country as well as other organizations to bring voter registration to the forefront. On that day, we plan to reach out to students at SCCC, to folks going to food pantries and farmers markets and other places where people might be shopping or gathering to reach those who are not yet registered.

Please let Lisa Dufek, Voter Registration, 878-5160, or Kay Ackerman, Voter Services, 393-5000, know if you are available for an assignment on National Voter Registration Day + September 23 and/or for other days to help get more people registered to vote.

We will be conducting a Candidates Forum for local elections on October 8th at the Black Box Theatre at Schenectady High School. Candidates for NYS Senate and Assembly representing Schenectady County, candidates for County, City and Family Court Judge and two City Council seats will be invited to attend and share their views and respond to questions asked by the audience. Contact Dianne Hartigan Alois, 370-2191, who is organizing this event to learn more about how you could help.

On Election Day, our League is joining AAUW of Schenectady County to collect the returns at each polling place in Schenectady County. We report this to a consolidated media pool for local radio and TV stations to report the results of the election. If you would be able to go to your polling place (or another polling place) at the time the elections close (9 PM), collect the results and then call them to the phone number provided, please contact Maxine Borom, 370-2662.

Together we will be able to get the Voter Services work accomplished this Fall!

Kay Ackerman, Voter Services

A possible change in your polling place in 2014

During the past year, the Schenectady Board of Elections undertook an intensive examination of the polling places. The goals were to equalize the number of voters in each voting district and increase the number and accessibility of the polling places. They accomplished their goals and managed to reduce the number of voting machines and poll workers needed in the process.

If your polling place has been changed, you will receive 2 mailings from the BOE this fall. Be sure to read your voter poll assignment carefully. More information is available on the BOE website and at 518-377-2469.

VOTE411--Candidate Information

Your One-Stop Shop for Nonpartisan Election Information!

Find out:
How to register
Where to vote
What candidates are on the ballot in your district
What some of their positions are

If any candidate is not providing information, ask why not!

For Voters Guide Information specific to New York, go to

Forum Information

Goal: to educate voters on the issues; to stimulate voter interest; to encourage voter participation in elections; to present programs in a nonpartisan manner


1. All candidates for office who meet New York State election law requirements to be on the ballot and are involved in contested races are eligible to take part in candidate forums.

2. When more than one candidate for a state, county or local office is on the ballot and an invited candidate for state, county or local office does not respond or accept an invitation to the forum, or when a candidate accepts but does not appear at the forum, the candidate present at the forum may make a statement and answer audience submitted/League reviewed questions as long as this situation is made clear to the audience. The moderator will be permitted to announce that the absent person is a candidate for that office. No substitutes will be permitted to take the place of a candidate. The absent candidate will be allowed to submit an opening statement with the same time limits as the candidates present. The moderator would read the statement provided by the absent candidate.

3. No videotaping of candidate debates, or parts thereof, is permitted except by those previously authorized by the League of Women Voters to officially tape the event.

4. Candidates' literature will be allowed to be distributed on tables placed near the entrance to the forum location.

5. The League reserves the right to cancel the forum if circumstances warrant.

6. Candidates will be sent a copy of these policies when they are invited to participate in the forum. Any subsequent changes to the program format will be communicated to candidates prior to the program.

Explanation of the Primary Process in NYS

Presidential Primaries in New York State

The Democratic and Republican primaries in New York State are different in important ways, but have similarities. Both are "closed" primaries; participation is limited to the voters who have registered in the party that is sponsoring the election. While delegates are not bound by any law to vote for any particular candidate at the party's national convention, both parties have "pledged" candidates who vote for the candidate to whom they are "pledged". Both parties also have "un-pledged" and/or "super" delegates, who are not committed to a particular candidate. A certain number of delegates in each party participate because they occupy a particular elective or party position. Before the primary, candidates submit to the board of elections a list of delegates from each congressional district that are committed to them. These delegates actually appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary, along with a statewide presidential democratic candidate, but do not appear on the ballot in the Republican primary.

Details of the Nominating Process

Democrats: "Proportional" Primary, 281 delegates at stake New York Democrats have a total of 281 delegates, 151 of whom are "pledged" and will be elected proportionally based on the results of the February 5th primary within each congressional district. In addition, 45 are automatic and/or chosen from party leaders. The remaining 85 delegates are selected at a state Democratic committee meeting in May.

The Democratic Party in New York always uses a proportional method for awarding delegates. The percentage of delegates each candidate is awarded (or the number of undecided delegates) is representative of the number of primary votes for the candidate.

The Democratic Party primary in New York is really a "dual primary." Candidates for president appear on the ballot and run against each other in a statewide primary, and delegates and alternate delegates run in each congressional district. Delegates and alternates are either committed to a presidential candidate or uncommitted, and males and females are equally represented among the delegate choices for a candidate.

Republicans: "Winner-take-all" Primary, 101 delegates at stake

The National Republican Party, unlike the Democratic Party, allows each state to decide whether to use a "winner-take-all method" or the "proportional" method. In the winner-take-all method, the candidate whom the majority of caucus participants or voters support receives all the delegates for the state. New York is a "winner take all" state.

In New York, the selection of delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention is determined by a statewide primary of candidates for the office of President. Unlike the Democratic primary ballot, the names of the delegates and alternate delegates do no appear. Based on the results of the February 5th presidential primary, 87 of the state's 101 Republican delegates are allocated to the presidential candidate with the most votes statewide. At a Republican state committee meeting, the remaining 14 unpledged delegates are selected from party leaders.

Local Boards of Elections

City Council and Town Board Meetings

Schenectady City Council meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays at the City Hall, 7 p.m.

Glenville Town Board meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at the Municipal Center, 7:30 p.m.

Rotterdam Town Board meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Assembly Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Niskayuna Town Board: Call 386-4592 for the schedule

Schenectady County Legislature Meetings

The Schenectady County Legislature meets the 2nd Tuesdays in the County Office Building at 7 p.m.

Local and State-Wide Political Information

Click here for political information about the City and County of Schenectady, the Capital District Area, and Statewide Politics.

The above is a web-site maintained by the SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE, a service of the Schenectady County Public Library.

The League of Women Voters Education Fund conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:

  • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

  • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.

  • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

Donations to the Education Fund, a 501(c)(3)corporation, are fully tax-deductible where allowed by law.