Few locals vote early in primary for president

Polls open today for presidential primary

The presidential primary for Republican and Democratic candidates is today. Few people voted early in Franklin and Essex, according to county board of elections officials.

There are 268 Democratic delegates and 91 Republican delegates at stake in the New York primary, but Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden both already have enough delegates secured to earn nominations at their respective party conventions. Meanwhile, most other candidates have dropped out with a handful of delegates, and those remaining in the race have no delegates.

With Trump and Biden being the likely major party nominees, the country is set up for a repeat of the 2020 election, in which Biden previously beat incumbent Trump with 51.3% of the vote.

Low local turnout so far

Polls in Franklin and Essex counties are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.

Franklin County Democratic Election Commissioner Brandon John Varin said 72 people voted early in Franklin County — 44 Democrats and 28 Republicans.

“That is a very small amount,” Varin said.

He said Franklin County sent out early mail-in ballots to 22 Democrats and five Republicans. By Monday afternoon they had received 14 Democratic and four Republican early mail-in ballots.

Franklin County issued absentee ballots to 285 Democrats and 184 Republicans. Varin said that by Monday afternoon, ballots from 153 Democrats and 122 Republicans had been returned.

Essex County Deputy Democratic Commissioner Jennifer Fifield said 127 people — 81 Democrats and 46 Republicans — voted early in Essex County.

“Very, very, very, very low,” she said.

There’s not a good comparison for early voting in a presidential primary, though, since the last one was not a “real” primary, either, Fifield added. The 2020 primary was combined with state and local elections because of the coronavirus pandemic and New York did not offer early voting in the presidential election before that.

Fifield said the closest example would be 210 early voters in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Out of 546 absentee ballots mailed out in Essex County, Fifield said 146 Democrats and 160 Republicans had returned their ballots by Monday afternoon.

Results from local early voting will be shared with the rest of the vote totals at the close of polls on election night.

Because New York has closed primary elections, only members of the two major parties may vote in their respective party’s primary.

Monday was the last day to apply for an absentee or early mail-in ballot. Today is the last day to deliver or postmark an absentee or early mail-in ballot to be counted in the election. Postmarked ballots must be received no later than April 9.

Absentee ballots can be mailed or hand delivered to any poll site or the board of elections on Election Day.

Voters who cast a ballot during early voting will not be eligible to vote on Election Day.

The Franklin County Board of Elections can be contacted at 518-481-1455.

The Essex County Board of Elections can be contacted at 518-873-3474.

The general election is on Nov. 5. The state Board of Elections can be contacted at 518-474-1953.

To find your polling site, go to voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.

The ballot

There are three candidates on the Democratic ballot — Joseph R. Biden Jr., Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips.

Phillips dropped out on March 6 with zero delegates. Williamson suspended and then unsuspended her campaign in February. She currently has zero delegates. Biden has 2,610 delegates currently, surpassing the 1,968 needed for his party’s nomination. There are also 26 “uncommitted” Democratic delegates and three delegates for “others.” Uncommitted delegates can support any candidate they choose.

New York does not have an option to go “uncommitted” on its ballot, but blank votes are tallied.

The Democratic ballot also includes a vote for delegates to send to the August Democratic National Convention to represent the 21st Congressional District. Voters can vote for up to five, and there are five candidates on the ballot — Michael Monescalchi, Jason Clark, Sara Idleman, Michael Zagrobelny and Lynne Boecher. These delegates will attend the DNC in Chicago to confirm the candidate choice of the voters who nominated them.

There are four candidates on the Republican ballot — Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie, Nikki R. Haley and Donald J. Trump.

Ramaswamy dropped out in January with three delegates. Christie dropped out in January with zero delegates. Haley dropped out on March 6 with 94 delegates. Trump currently has 1,686 Republican delegates, surpassing the 1,215 needed for his party’s nomination. There are 12 Republican delegates for “others.”

Ron DeSantis dropped out in January with nine delegates.

Local polling sites

¯ Town of Brighton: Brighton Town Hall, 12 county Route 31, Paul Smiths

¯ Town of Franklin: Franklin Town Hall, 7 Cold Brook Road, Vermontville

¯ Town of Harrietstown: Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake

¯ Town of Jay: Jay town office, 11 School Lane, AuSable Forks

¯ Town of Keene: Keene Valley fire hall, Market Street, Keene Valley

¯ Town of Long Lake: Long Lake Town Hall, 1204 Main St, Long Lake (District 1); Raquette Lake School, 115 state Route 28, Raquette Lake (District 2)

¯ Town of North Elba: Shipman Youth Center, Cummings Road, Lake Placid (all districts but District 2); North Elba Town House, River Street, Saranac Lake (District 2 only)

¯ Town of Piercefield: Piercefield Town Hall, 48 Waller St., Piercefield

¯ Town of St. Armand: St. Armand Town Hall, state Route 3, Bloomingdale

¯ Town of Santa Clara: Santa Clara Town Hall, 5359 state Route 30, Saranac Inn

¯ Town of Tupper Lake: Holy Ghost Parish Center, 40 Marion St., Tupper Lake

¯ Town of Wilmington: Wilmington Community Center, 7 Community Circle, Wilmington

Polls in Franklin and Essex counties are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.


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