Village vote may change: BOE commissioner asks villages to move elections to November

— Onondaga County Board of Elections’ new Democratic Party commissioner, Dustin Czarny, is on a mission to move village elections to November. State law, he points out, gives villages the option of conducting elections in March, June or November.

“The villages could all save money by moving their elections from March or June to the fall,” Czarny said. “We’re already running an election every November anyway.”

In January, Czarny sent a letter to all 15 of Onondaga County’s villages requesting that they make the change.

The cost of conducting elections can run from Liverpool’s low of $570 up to $5,000 or more in larger villages, especially after costs are incurred for new Optimal Scan machines in the next or two.

The amount of savings will vary depending on the number of registered voters in each village. “Different villages,” Czarny said, “Have different needs.”

Last year, Camillus, a small village with a population of 1,213, became the first county village to conduct its election in November under the auspices of the county BOE.

“It went great in Camillus,” Czarny said. “They were very happy with it because they didn’t have to worry about hiring inspectors, printing ballots and programming the voting machines.”

While acknowledging that the villages retain the option to schedule springtime elections, Czarny hopes to convince them to shift to November. The BOE’s bipartisan staff is comprised of experienced professionals who know how to run fair and open elections, he said. “We understand all the election laws,” he added.

At the village level, many candidates form their own parties or run as independents, rather than run as Democrats or Republicans. Czarny said that poses no problem for the BOE.

“Non-partisan elections can be accommodated,” he said.

By moving their elections to November, villages will benefit in several ways, Czarny said. “They’ll experience increased voter turnout, they’ll save money and, at the same time, we’ll better serve the citizens.”

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