It’s an even year, and for Americans, that means election season. This year features a unique convergence of events, including a once-per-decade redistricting following contentious court battles and major primary fights between high-powered veteran Democrats for seats in the House of Representatives. The voter registration deadline is on Friday, Oct. 14.
Registering to vote
Voters can register to vote online if they have a New York driver’s license. Go to the New York State DMV website and log in, or create an account if they don’t have one yet. They should click on “Change My Address” and input their address in Ithaca. This will change their address on file at the DMV, but will not require them to get a new copy of their license. Once they have received the confirmation email from the DMV saying that their address has changed, they can visit the voter registration webpage and fill out the information required. After they receive the confirmation email from the DMV, go to the voter lookup site, input “Tompkins” for county and their personal information to confirm their registration and polling location.
If they do not have a New York driver’s license, or they do not wish to register to vote online, voters can register by printing and filling out the New York State Voter Registration form, then mailing or bringing it to the Tompkins County Board of Elections at 128 E. Buffalo Street in Ithaca by Oct. 14.
New York offers early voting from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6. Anyone who is registered as a Tompkins County voter and wishes to vote early can do so at Ithaca Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga St. or at Crash Fire Rescue, 72 Brown Rd. Check Tompkins County’s early voting webpage for opening hours on each day of early voting, as they vary.
If voters are unable to vote in person, they must confirm on the Tompkins County absentee ballot webpage that they are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot. Reasons that will qualify include current study abroad or or physical inability to go to their polling location. If they are eligible, voters should fill out the NY State Board of Elections Voter Absentee Ballot Application Request online to apply for an absentee ballot. Voters may also print and fill out the Tompkins County Absentee Ballot Application form and mail or bring it to the Board of Elections office by Nov. 8.
Voting in person
A list of all polling places in Ithaca is available at the Tompkins County BOE lookup webpage. Voters can simply search their address and they will find their polling place as well as a list of all incumbents.
Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. If they are in line but have not voted by 9 p.m., they will still be allowed to vote so long as they remain in the line.
If they have fewer than four consecutive non-working hours in which they can vote, voters may take up to two paid hours off of work and as many unpaid hours as needed to vote, so long as they give between two and ten work days’ notice to their employer.
All voters have the right to vote in secrecy for whom they please, without coercion or intimidation by a poll worker or anyone else. Furthermore, if they should require assistance to vote due to disability or instruction in how to operate the voting machines, they are entitled to it.
New York State has several major races this election cycle, including for governor, Senate, and the House of Representatives.
Tompkins County was transferred into the New York 19th Congressional District in the most recent redistricting cycle. This year’s race pits Democrat Josh Riley against Republican Marc Molinaro. Riley is a private practice attorney and former congressional staffer. He espouses traditional liberal viewpoints, such as a woman’s right to choose, gun control and climate justice, in addition to some more uncommon views such as the expansion of “environmental cops on the beat to stop polluters.”
On the other side, Molinaro focuses on mental health, the opioid crisis and protection for those with physical and mental disabilities, largely avoiding (or declining to state) his opinion on hot-button issues such as abortion and gun control. However, he has appeared at campaign events with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-21), who is known for her outspoken far-right views and comments, such as her support of the Second Amendment and the effort to reverse the 2020 election by former president Donald J. Trump (R-FL).
Statewide, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is up for re-election against Joe Pinion (R), while Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) is up for re-election against Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-1).
Additionally, Ithacans will be voting for state legislature positions in both houses. For the State Senate, Democrat Lea Webb is running against Republican Richard C. David in the 52nd District.
Webb centers her campaign around climate justice and protecting women’s right to choose, while David prefers a tough-on-crime campaign, pledging to fund police departments and oppose “dangerous bail ‘reform’ pushed by downstate liberals.”
For the State Assembly, Ithaca votes in the 125th district. Incumbent Anna Kelles (D-125) is the only candidate on the ballot. Kelles, like the other Democrats on the ballot, largely abides by the party line, supporting climate change, access to abortion and the building of new affordable housing.