Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.

December / January Voter Services News

November concludes the busiest time of year for Voter Services. Four candidate forums were successfully conducted in October in Glenville, Niskayuna, Rotterdam and the City of Schenectady. Each forum was videotaped by Open Space Media and presented on their website and on Time Warner and Verizon FIOS Public Access TV stations. Thanks to many volunteers and Coordinators Connie Young, Maxine Borom, Marsha Mortimore, and Cheryl Nechamen.

Additional thanks to all the people who helped collect election returns on November 3rd. Dick Shave and Maxine Borom coordinated this effort. We recruited enough volunteers to cover 93 out of 102 Election Districts. This is an important activity for the League. We are paid for every election district report we make which helps pay the cost of taping the aforementioned candidate forums.

For both of these activities, which are very volunteer-intensive, we are grateful for the partnership with AAUW. This has been a cooperative venture for our organizations for many years.

Finally, a thank you to Pat MacKinnon for gathering information from candidates for local offices and posting these on This provides a source for voters to learn about candidates' views and positions on local issues and helps them make a decision on how they will cast their ballots.

Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair

Voter Information Booklets

November Voter Services News

The LWV of Schenectady County partnered with the New York Alliance for Donation in promoting organ, eye and tissues donation and participated in National Voter Registration Day on September 22nd.

We conducted voter registration at six sites this year on five different dates and handed out 94 voter registration forms to be returned later and collected 183 completed forms. Of these, 28 people signed organ donor forms. We also handed out 7 absentee ballot requests and delivered 10 completed absentee ballot requests to the Board of Elections. In 2014, we conducted voter registration at nine sites and collected 71 completed forms, and handed out 38 voter registration forms to be filled out later and 8 absentee ballot requests.

In October, we partnered with AAUW conducting four candidate forums for local elections in the City of Schenectady and the towns of Glenville, Niskayuna and Rotterdam. The forums were taped by Open Stage Media and rebroadcast on local access stations.

On Election night, November 3rd, we will again partner with AAUW and collect election results to report to local media at as many election districts as we have volunteers to cover. We receive a modest payment for every polling place for which we are able to give a report and the proceeds are used to cover the expenses of taping the candidate forums.


Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair

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

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.