Cameron Pollack/Sun File Photo

Candidates in the Nov. 2 election will be running for seats on the Ithaca Common Council.

November 2, 2021

Local Election Day is Here: Here’s What You Need to Know

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On Nov. 2, Ithaca residents will head to local polls to cast their ballots for Common Council seats. 

There are eight candidates vying for slots in Ithaca’s five wards. Cornell University encompasses wards three, four and five. Students can look here for an interactive map used to identify their ward and local polling locations.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m to 9 p.m. on election day. Voters in the Fourth Ward can cast their ballot at the Ithaca Town Hall on 215 North Tioga St. downtown. Early voting began Oct. 23, giving New York State residents the opportunity to vote at two county voting sites before election day.   

The Fourth Ward, which includes part of West Campus and all of Collegetown, has one seat up for election. Patrick Mehler ’23 fills the other seat, after winning a special election in October. Mehler’s term will end in December 2022, when a special election will be held for Ithaca’s Fourth Ward vacancy.

Two candidates are vying for seats in the Fourth Ward — George DeFendini ’22 and contracting-company owner Alejandro Santana. DeFendini’s campaign is run on providing equitable housing for all, especially college students in Collegetown, whereas Santana’s platform centers on maintaining the local economy when Cornell is not in session. 

Robert Cantelmo grad is also in the race for a Common Council seat in the Fifth Ward. His platform focuses on public safety, climate change and housing issues. Cantelmo is a Ph.D. student in Cornell’s government department. 

Common Council members, also known as alderpersons, serve for four-year terms, during which they attend Common Council meetings and work with their constituents to enact their campaign promises. 

DeFendini is running on the Solidarity Slate, which has received endorsements from numerous local organizations, including the Democratic Socialists of America, Ithaca Tenants Union and Cornell Progressives. According to their website, the Solidarity Slate of candidates focus on “systemic racial justice, improving housing quality and access, and engaging and assembling the community to make decisions together.” 

Phoebe Brown (Ward 2) and Maddie Halpert (Ward 1), who replaced Niya Foster after she ended her campaign in early June, are also candidates on the slate.

Here’s a full list of candidates and their respective wards:

  • Ward 1
    • Cynthia Brock 
    • Maddie Halpert 
  • Ward 2
    • Phoebe Brown
    • Rick Murray
  • Ward 3
    • Jeffrey Barken
  • Ward 4
    • George DeFendini ’22
    • Alejandro Santana
  • Ward 5
    • Robert Cantelmo grad

Correction, Nov. 2, 1:30 p.m.: A previous version of this story misstated election day polling locations. This post has since been updated.