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High turnout not expected with mostly local elections

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Don’t expect long lines at polling sites today.

Despite some “hotly contested races” such as Utica comptroller and New Hartford supervisor, turnout will be about average, pollster John Zogby said.

“You’re not going to get as big a turnout as you would in a mayoral race,” he said. “Overall, it’s not a high turnout. I think what we’re looking at is an average turnout.”

Plus, there aren’t many statewide or federal offices on the ballot, said Audrey Dunning, Democratic commissioner for the Herkimer County Board of Elections.

But that doesn’t mean no one is planning to vote today.

“We expect the higher turnouts in the districts that have contested seats,” Dunning said.

While officials prepared for what’s to come, many area residents said they’ll be casting their ballot in hopes of change.

“I’m going to go vote,” said Utica resident Angelo Giacovelli, 77. “There are a lot of problems in this city. I’m hoping the new guys will get in and take care of it.”

In Herkimer County, Ilion resident Margaret Sinclair, 63, said she’s hoping for new people to bring “fresh ideas and fresh energy.”

“I think some of the people have been in there a long time and I don’t see Herkimer County moving forward,” she said.

Zogby said while the local elections deal with the most intimate services such as public safety, infrastructure and water, among others, it’s difficult to sense whether there’s a connection between the issues and those running.

“Ultimately, as usual, it revolves around personalities and who you are more comfortable with,” he said.

Rose Marie Grimaldi, Oneida County Board of Elections Republican commissioner, said it is hard to say what the turnout will be but pointed out that there is a “huge slate” for Utica City Common Council at-large with eight candidates for three seats, plus the new districts for the smaller Oneida County Board of Legislators.

“We have a lot of contested races throughout the county,” she said.

Meanwhile, Michael Smith, a Whitesboro resident and reverend of the Trinity United Methodist Church in the village, said concern over stopping Proposition 1 — the New York Casino Gambling Amendment that would allow the state Legislature to authorize up to seven new casinos — is drawing him to the polls.

“My vote is influenced, among other things, by my faith and my church’s long-standing opposition of gambling in any and every form,” the 48-year-old said. “I vote early and I vote often because I believe it’s a responsibility that I have as a citizen.”

 

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