Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.

Schenectady City School District Candidate Forum

Monday, May 8
6:30 - 7:45 PM
McChesney Room Schenectady County Public Library - Downtown Branch

Six candidates have filed petitions and will run for the three vacant seats on the School Board. The Election will take place on Tuesday, May 16. Polls will be open from Noon to 9 PM. Polling place locations are listed on the Schenectady City Schools web site at www.schenectady.k12.ny.us

Absentee balloting is available for this election. Voters must apply for an absentee ballot with the Clerk of the Board of Education Martha Morris by Tuesday, May 9. The application form can be requested in person at 108 Education Drive, Schenectady 12303 or by phone at 518 881-2000, Ext. 40105.

Voter Registration Planning Time

Connie Young and Peg Foley are currently setting the schedule of voter registration events for this election season. We have already made a commitment to register voters at the annual Kids Arts Festival on June 3 and need volunteers for that day 12 N + 4 PM. There will be additional events throughout the summer and fall which will be announced soon with an on-line opportunity to sign up for a time convenient for you. If you have never registered voters we will be sure to partner you with an experienced volunteer. Ordinarily the commitment is for a 2 or 3 hour shift. Please contact Connie (518-393-7061; cyoung50@nycap.rr.com) or Peg (518-346-3923; pegfoley1921@gmail.com), if you have not been contacted in previous years for voter registration.

Candidate Forums

This year there will be elections at every level of local government starting with School Board Elections in May. We will hold a candidate forum for most of these local government elections and the Schenectady City School District Board of Education election IF there are more candidates running than seats available.

Candidates have until April 26 to file their petitions, so, at this writing, we don't know if a school board candidates forum will be necessary. If there needs to be a candidate forum it will be held on May 8 at the downtown Schenectady County Library branch starting at 6:30 PM. If you would be available/interested in helping with the conduct of the candidate forum, contact Vicki McGowan-Horan (518-852-0113; torymc@aol.com).

The above activities are very important services that the LWV provides to residents in Schenectady County and both require many volunteers. I hope you'll find a way to include volunteering to help us.

IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES FOR 2017

Primary Election: September 12, 2017
General Election: November 7, 2017
Voter Registration deadline for Primary Election:
In Person: August 18,2017
Mail in: Postmark by August 18; received by Board of Elections by August 23
Voter Registration deadlines for General Election:
In Person: October 13
Mail in: Postmarked by October 13; received by Board of Elections by October 18
Absentee Voting deadlines for Primary Election:
Application for Primary Ballot
Apply in person to Board of Elections: September 11
Mail in: Postmarked by Sept. 5
Primary Ballot
Deliver in person to Board of Elections: September 12 (by 9 PM)
Mail in: Postmarked by September 11; received by Board of Elections by September 19
Absentee Voting deadlines for General Election:
Application for Ballot
Apply in person to Board of Elections: November 6
Mail in: Postmarked October 31
General Election Ballot
Deliver in person: November 7 (9 PM)
Mail in: Postmarked November 6; must be received by Board of Elections by November 14.

Help Wanted

The Schenectady County Board of Elections needs people to work at the polls on Primary and Election Days.

Poll workers are responsible for performing a variety of tasks including: signing in voters, directing voters to their correct polling place, assisting voters that may need help voting and documenting information on appropriate forms.

In order to serve as a poll worker you must be a registered voter, resident of Schenectady County and attend a two to three hour training session. Training sessions are scheduled at various times over the summer and fall. You can select the time that is most convenient for you. Day and night sessions are available.

You will be paid:

  • $30 for training
  • $160 for serving as a poll worker on an Election Day
  • $100 for serving as a poll worker on Primary Day

If interested in this position call 377-2469, or download the application form available on the Board of Election's web page.

Submitted by Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERS

As we concluded the 2016 election season, I completed an Election Activities Survey for LWV USA. I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that a total of 95 individual volunteers were involved in delivering voter services this year---registering voters, assisting at candidate forums, delivering "Take Me to Vote" packets to the elementary schools in Schenectady County and taking election returns at nearly 90 County polling places. (This includes our important partnering again with AAUW in the "Take Me To Vote" project and collecting election returns.)

Many League members did double and triple duty----with involvement in all activities. What a team we have! Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered. It is what allows Voter Services to make a difference.

Kay Ackerman
Voter Services Chair

Voter Information Booklets

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

Policies:

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.