Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.


The TAKE ME TO VOTE program thanks all the league and AAUW members who contributed to a successful election exercise. All Schenectady County schools participated and were eager to educate students about the election process. One thousand seven hundred and two children accompanied their parents to the polls. They indicated their presence by depositing a slip of paper with their names in an envelope at the polling site. That is about 10% of the elementary students in the county. We are gratified with that response and will do it again next year.

Connie Young


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

LWV Meet the Candidates Forum Congressional District #20 Video

If you missed the October 18th candidate forum between Paul Tonko and Joe Vitollo, or if you just want to see it again, the forum is available on onyoutube at the following links:

Full event:

Opening Statements:

Panel Questions:

Audience Questions:

Closing Statements:

Schenectady City Council Candidate Forum Video

The Schenectady City Candidate Forum was taped on Wednesday, October 26 and will be broadcast on Time Warner Channel 16 on:

Sunday, October 30 at 9 PM Monday, October 31 at 7PM Wednesday, November 2 at 1 PM

The video can also be seen on Open Stage Media, click on video on demand and then Playlists, select League of Women Voters, and then the forum you wish to watch.

Vote 411 candidate information for City Council Candidates is also available.

46th District Candidate Forum Video

The candidates forum for the 46th District with George Amedore (Republican) and Sara Niccoli (Democrat) was taped on Tuesday, October 25th at the Guilderland Public Library and can be seen on Open Stage Media.

Voter Services Report

The League of Women Voters 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 27 by sponsoring voter registration opportunities at four sites. We conducted a total of 13 voter registration events at ten different sites this year and handed out 114 voter registration forms, collected 246 completed forms, of these 37 people signed organ donor forms. We also handed out 40 absentee ballot requests and delivered 13 completed absentee ballot requests to the Board of Elections. In 2015 we conducted voter registration at 6 sites and collected 183 completed forms, and handed out 94 voter registration forms and delivered 10 absentee ballots requests to the Board of Elections.

We participated in Vote411, the League of Women Voters on-line voters guide, with the Albany and Saratoga County Leagues by inviting local candidates to post their background information, experience and views on issues concerning the elections for which they were running.

In October we partnered with the Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga County Leagues of Women Voters to to conduct candidate forums for candidates running in the Congressional and State Senate and Assembly Districts serving Schenectady County. A fourth candidate forum was held for candidates running to fill a vacancy on the Schenectady City Council. Two of the forums were taped by Open Stage Media and rebroadcast on local access stations.

On Election night -- November 8, 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 we are able to give a report and the proceeds are used to cover the expenses of taping the candidate forums.

Voter Resources:
If you have not attended the forums but wish to learn more about the candidates' backgrounds and positions on issues, there are several resources to consider: - Candidates for national, state and local offices are invited to submit responses about their backgrounds and positions. This is a one-stop shop for nonpartisan election information. For Voters Guide Information specific to New York, go to and click on -- Information about candidates positions' on issues you are concerned about.

For general information about registering, elections and voting you can contact:

NYS Board of Elections 518-472-5086
Schenectady County Board of Elections 518-377-2469
LWV Schenectady County

Kay Ackerman, Voter Services Chair


Candidate Forums are scheduled for October as follows:

New York 20th Congressional District

Congressman Paul Tonko (Democrat) and Challenger Joe Vitollo, (Republican)

Karen DeWitt, Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, Matthew Hamilton Reporter for the Times Union, and Steve Muller League Women Voters will ask questions. Topics will include Economic, Domestic, and Foreign Policy questions.

Tuesday, October 18, 7+8:45 PM Clifton Park-Half Moon Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park

NY 49th Senate District and NYS 112th Assembly District

Candidates for the 49th Senate District are Chad Putman (Democrat) and James Tedisco (Republican)

Candidates for the 112th Assembly are Michael Godlewski (Democrat) and Mary Beth Walsh (Republican)

Wednesday, October 19, 7-9 PM Burnt Hills + Ballston Lake High School Auditorium

NYS 46th Senate District

Candidates for the 46th District are George Amedore (Republican) and Sara Niccoli (Democrat)

Tuesday, October 25, 7-8:45 PM Guilderland Public Library

Schenectady City Council Candidate Forum

Candidates are Alex Jurczynski (Republican) and Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas (Democrat)

Wednesday, October 26, 6:30-7:45 PM McChesney Room at the Schenectady County Public Library

If you could help with any of these candidate forums, please contact Vicki McGowan for details.

Sponsored by the LWV of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, & Schenectady

Voter Services Volunteer Opportunities!

Election Result Collection We will conclude our Voter Services responsibilities on November 8 when members are asked to go to an assigned polling place at close of the polls (9 PM) to collect returns and report them to a centralized collection point for local media on Election Day. It could be your own polling place. If you have helped out with this before, you will be contacted to confirm that you will help us again. If you've not helped out before but would like to this year, contact Maxine Borom 370-2662 or Dick Shave 377-3110 for details.

2016 Voter Guides

Vote411 Candidates for national, state and local offices are invited to submit responses about their backgrounds and positions. This is a one-stop shop for nonpartisan election information.

Voters Guide Part I Facts For Voters

Voters Guide Part II Candidate Information

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


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.