Voter turnout something to be proud of

Look at the total number of ballots cast in Tuesday’s Saranac Lake Village Board election — or at the countless endorsement letters printed on this page over the past few weeks — and there are plenty of takeaways from this election cycle. One of those takeaways: Despite the trend of dwindling voter participation in other areas, civics are alive and well in Saranac Lake. That’s something to be very proud of.

On Tuesday, 892 people cast ballots. Another 82 people voted by absentee ballot, for a total of 974 ballots cast in the race for two Saranac Lake village trustee seats. That means that roughly 33% of the 2,909 total registered voters in Saranac Lake cast ballots in an election where there were only two positions on the ballot. Across the country, only around 27% of eligible voters participate in typical local elections, according to the New York Times — in New York City’s 2017 elections, which included the race for mayor, just 25% of eligible voters cast ballots.

At the local level, every single vote counts — this election in Saranac Lake provided us with yet another reminder of that. It was an extremely close race: All four candidates on the ballot received between 445 and 481 votes each. It was so close that, by law, a recount by the Franklin County Board of Elections was required.

The county Board of Elections started the recount on Friday and is expected to finish on Monday. In the unofficial tally, the top two vote-getters were Sean Ryan (481 votes) and Aurora White (477 votes).

It’s no secret: Village board meetings over the past few months have been fraught with infighting and distrust among some members. Meanwhile, this village is facing a dire affordable housing crisis. Many local businesses are struggling to find staff in part because of the lack of housing. Many residents are struggling to put food on the table. The village is also in the middle of a project that could see the construction of a new combined emergency services building.

Our hope is that the new trustees will keep their campaign promises, but beyond that, we hope they keep in mind that with all of the challenges facing this village, Saranac Lake needs its government to function efficiently. The new trustees now have the opportunity to usher in a fresh start for the village board, help set the tone and get things done.


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