Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.

Voter Services Volunteer Opportunities!

Voter Registration The League will provide opportunities for voter registration again this year. We will join in National Voter Registration Day on September 22nd at several sites around the County. Please let us know if you could help us with this League endeavor---especially on September 22nd. We have also agreed to conduct Voter Registration at Schenectady County Community College on September 16th. If you can help with either of these dates, please contact Kay Ackerman. Other voter registration opportunities will be announced soon!

Candidate Forums This is a year of major local elections. In October, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the League will be working together to hold candidate forums in the City of Schenectady and Towns of Glenville, Niskayuna and Rotterdam for citizens to meet and hear candidates' views and positions on local issues. Many volunteers are needed to carry out this important community service. We need folks to help set up for the forums, greeters to meet the attendees and hand out the program and index cards for their questions, people to review these questions to avoid duplication and weed out inappropriate comments/questions such as personal attacks, and people to watch the clock so candidates stay within the time limits. Dates are being confirmed as the Bulletin goes to press---so if you might have an interest and willingness to help---contact Kay Ackerman for more information or the Candidate Forum Coordinator for a specific forum:

Glenville: Betsy Chase, 399-9070.
Niskayuna: Maxine Borom, 370-2662.
Rotterdam: Marsha Mortimore.
City of Schenectady: Connie Young, 393-7061.

Election Result Collection Every year the League and AAUW partner to collect the election results at as many polling places in the County as possible. We are paid for these efforts of reporting results to a central registry that tabulate and report election results to area media. The proceeds from this effort are used to pay for the taping of candidate forums held in October which are broadcast on Schenectady's Public Access Station. The more polling places we cover, the more we receive in payments. So if you would be willing to be at an assigned polling place (could be your own!) at 9 PM on Election Night, November 3, 2015 to collect returns, please contact Kay Ackerman, 393-5000.

Voter Services Committee Annual Report_July 2015

A key function of the League's voter services activities is to provide nonpartisan information to voters in order to increase participation in government. Voter service is a year-round function of the League with the most intense activity occurring in the periods immediately preceding elections. Voter services, as well as disseminating factual information, deals with the mechanics of voting. The Voter Services Committee was active in three areas in the past year--holding candidate forums, conducting voter registration and poll reporting during the November election.

Candidate Forums Two candidate forums were held---one in conjunction with the Saratoga and Albany County Leagues for the House of Representatives candidates and one in collaboration with AAUW of Schenectady for the NYS Senate & Assembly Districts and candidates for the vacancies on the Schenectady City Council and County and City Court judges.

Voter Registration Last year we offered 18 voter registration opportunities at 12 sites. We registered 71 voters on site, handed out 38 registration forms and 8 absentee ballot forms. We concentrated on meal sites and food pantries but our most successful sites were Schenectady County Community College and Planned Parenthood---the only sites where we registered 10 or more voters. We also participated in National Voter Registration Day.

Poll Reporting The League and AAUW partnered to visit polling places in Schenectady County on election night to gather returns to report to the local media. In addition, this was a fundraiser for our efforts.

Kay Ackerman, Chair

Voter Services

Looking forward to summer and next fall, the Voter Services Committee will be planning a number of voter registration opportunities. Also we will be holding candidate forums for the local elections which will be taking place on November 3, 2015. We need many volunteers to carry out this important work of the League, so we hope you will give us some time, as much as you can spare, to help out. Stay tuned for announcements of dates and times for these events. And, if you know of an event or occasion that would be an opportunity for us to reach unregistered voters, please inform me or Lisa Dufek, Voter Registration Chair.

Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair

Candidate 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.