Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.

Voter Registration Drives


Wednesday, July 27: Schenectady County Community College 11 AM - 12 Noon

Monday, Aug. 1: Schenectady County Community College 11 AM - 12 Noon

Sunday, Aug. 14: Downtown Schenectady Green Market 10 AM - 2 PM

Sunday, Sept. 4: Union College 9 AM - 3 PM

Week of Sept. 19 - 23: Schenectady High School 11:30 - 1 PM (each day )

Tues. Sept 27: NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY locations/times to be announced

Wed. Oct. 12: Schenectady County Community College 10:30 - 4 PM

Help Register Voters

We still need volunteers to help register voters on the following dates/times:

Sunday Sept. 4: Union College (9 AM - 3PM)

Tuesday Sept. 27: National Voter Registration Day (8 AM - 7 PM - depending on location)

Union College, SCCC, Bornt Library Branch, Salvation Army Food Pantry

Saturday October 8: Price Rite and Aldi food markets (10 AM - 6 PM)

Monday August 1, Wednesday October 12: Schenectady County Community College (10:30 - 4 PM)

Shifts of 2 or 3 hours duration are scheduled. Please contact Kay Ackerman, 393-5000, for information about specific times.

Presidential Voter Guide

Voter Services Committee Annual Report

Candidate Forums
In the fall of 2015, candidate forums co-sponsored by our League and AAUW of Schenectady took place in the towns of 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 Stations. A special Schenectady Mayoral Candidate Forum was held at Proctors Theatre as well, sponsored by the Daily Gazette. In May, 2016 the League conducted a candidates forum for the Schenectady City School District Board of Education candidates.
Information was gathered from candidates for local offices and posted on the web site This provides a source for voters to learn about candidates' views and positions on local issues and helps them to make a decision on how they will cast their votes.
Voter Registration
In 2015-16 we offered 18 voter registration opportunities at 12 sites. We registered 326 voters on site, handed out 132 registration forms and 25 absentee ballot request forms. This year we again participated in the New York LWV partnership with the New York Alliance for Organ Donation in the "Every Vote Counts, Every Donor Counts" campaign to inform citizens of the opportunity to sign up for organ donation on the Voter Registration form. We enrolled 58 voters as organ donors.
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. On the November 2015 election night, 93 out of Schenectady County's 102 Election Districts were covered! In addition this was an important fundraiser for our efforts. The proceeds are used to pay for the taping of candidate forums held prior to the elections. $1,040 was earned for the League by this activity last November.
Vote Here! Vote Now Exhibit at Schenectady Historical Society
In March, 2016 the members of the League met with the Schenectady County Historical Society as they developed an exhibit Vote Here! Vote Now!, an interactive presentation looking at the American presidency, women's suffrage, voting rights, campaign design, local political movements and current issues. The League's activities in the community and displays of early copies of Who's Who were included. The exhibit continues through November 12, 2016. None of the aforementioned activities could be achieved without the many League members who volunteer to carry them out. We are only as strong as the woman/man power behind these efforts. I am very grateful to the members of the Voters Services Committee and those of the larger League membership who have stepped up to the plate to make these events happen.

submitted by 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


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.