County rues cost of two primaries this year

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The New York State Assembly's 107th District.

The Washington County Board of Elections provided vital information on changes to redistricting and the addition of a second Primary election to take place this year at the Washington County Government Operations Committee meeting on May 24.

County board of elections Republican Commissioner Thomas Rogers and Democratic Commissioner Jeff Curtis gave the seven members of the committee a “heads up” to changes established and those anticipated.

“As you know, there’s been quite a few changes with elections,” Rogers said. “We will have a primary in June and we will have a primary in August. The reason being is that after the first districts being redrawn, there were some objections that went to court and forced a second rewriting of the New York State Senate and the congressional districts in New York. The Assembly stayed the same.”

Rogers said June 28 will showcase a countywide primary for four Democrats and four Republicans for the position of governor and a democratic primary for three lieutenant governor candidates.

Following the approval of changes in redistricting and mandate for two primaries, one on June 28 and the other on Aug. 23, by Judge Patrick McAllister on May 20, the three assembly districts and two senate districts have been altered.

“There wasn’t enough time in the calendar to move the (assembly and senate primary) vote to the June primary,” Rogers said.

The board of elections said in a May 26 email there are 37,473 total registered voters in Washington County. However, Rogers noted that deaths, people moving in and out of Washington County and new registrations make that and all district registration numbers fluid.

The New York State Senate’s 43rd (purple) and 45th Districts (yellow).

In the state senate, Dan Stec’s (R-Queensbury) 45th District will now consist of only Dresden, Fort Ann, Kingsbury, Putnam and Whitehall in Washington County and his representation will travel further into the North Country.

There are 12,789 total county registered voters in the 45th district, with 5,511 of them being registered Republicans.

A newly shaped 43rd district was created by the redistricting that, according to Rogers, will consist of the southern “half of Washington County, all of Rensselaer County and the city of Albany.”

Rogers added he does not see any primary taking place in the 45th district, as it appears Stec will be running unopposed. However, in the 43rd district, Rogers believes a primary on Aug. 23 could take place between Democrats Andrea Smith, of Troy, and Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

On the Republican side of the ballot, 107th district Assemblyman Jake Ashby announced he would be vying for a seat in the state senate. Ashby is not allowed to run for two offices at the same time and would be vacating the 107th district seat.

“There’s a handful of towns that have elections in November for local candidates, but there is no primary. There are no elections at the county level, and when we get to the assembly districts, there’s no primaries in the assembly districts either. The 107th (Assembly) District is now including Easton, Cambridge and White Creek and going south. In the 113th, it is only the towns of Greenwich, Fort Edward and the village of Hudson Falls (and Saratoga County). The rest of the 114th all goes north with the district that most of us were in. But there’s no primaries in any of those.”

The New York State Assembly’s 113th District.

In the 43rd district, Rogers noted the largest number of county registered voters, 24,684, in the expanded district features 9,985 Republicans, 6,325 Democrats and 8,374 other party-registered (Conservative, Working Family, No Party) voters.

Rogers said the 107th District opened up for petitions of redistricting because of Assemblyman Jake Ashby’s (R-Castleton) mission to run for the State Senate’s 43rd District.

As of publication, there are 5,276 total registered voters from Washington County in the 107th district.

The Republican Commissioner reminded the committee members that the 113th District will be contested in June between incumbent Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) and David Catalfamo (R-Wilton).

Washington County has 10,489 registered voters in the 113th district, which features the closest split between Democrats, Republicans and other affiliated parties. According to Rogers, there are 3,086 Democrats, 3,635 other party-registered voters and 3,768 Republicans registered.

The 114th District’s representative is Matt Simpson, who is not expected to have any challengers.

Rogers pointed out the 114th District features the second highest number of Washington County registered voters (21,578) through the towns of Putnam, Dresden, Whitehall, Hampton, Fort Ann, Granville, Hartford, Hebron, Argyle, Kingsbury Districts 1, 2 and 9, Jackson and Salem.

“It would have been nice if we could have gone back to where we were,” Rogers said of the redistricting dividing Washington County. “What we need is one person with a strong voice representing the county… I will say, though, I think we have strong candidates in all races representing our county.”

Affording the hefty cost of a second primary in the same calendar year when only expecting to have one is causing a burden for the county’s board of elections,” said Curtis.

Pending the potential increase of pay to $300 per day for election inspectors, the county is looking at an expenditure of close to $45,000 to cover 140 inspectors, nine days of early voting, drivers of trucks with lift gates and fuel and for technicians and couriers over a 16-hour voting period.

Curtis and Rogers collectively said the board of elections does not have the finances to afford two primaries.

“This new primary was unexpected. It was not in our budget,” Curtis said.

“We’re looking for some help. We don’t have enough money in our budget,” Rogers said.