Primary elections across Tompkins County leave vintage voting machines behind

September 13, 2010

This Tuesday's statewide primary election day, featuring Democratic and Conservative primaries across Tompkins County and Republican primaries in the City of Ithaca and several area towns, will also be the first election for many local voters with new optical scanners replacing New York's ancient, mechanical, lever-based machines.

The Tompkins County Board of Elections says voters in the City of Ithaca used optical scan machines in last fall's general election, and some voters in this spring's village elections got to use them, as well. As New York State phases out its old machines, widely perceived as reliable but tough to maintain, all Tompkins County voters will be using the optical scan units. Voters will fill ovals on a paper ballot and then insert it into an optical scanner.

Democratic voters throughout Tompkins County will be selecting from among five candidates for the democratic nomination for New York Attorney General, two candidates for the nomination for New York's junior U.S. Senate seat (including incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand), and two candidates for the democratic nomination for Tompkins County Sheriff (including incumbent Peter Meskill). 

Republican voters will have a chance to select a nominee for the party's candidate for Governor between Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino, as well as nominees both for Gillibrand's unexpired Senate term (she was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's unfinished term when Sen. Clinton became Secretary of State) and to challenge Charles Schumer for his seat. Republican voters in some Tompkins County districts (the City of Ithaca and towns of Enfield, Ithaca, Newfield, and Ulysses) will also vote for a nominee for the State Senate seat in the 53rd District.

Conservative voters have one primary election, to select a nominee for Governor, between Lazio and Ralph Lorigo.

Today is the last day to visit the County Board of Elections office at 128 East Buffalo Street in person to apply for an absentee ballot. Those voting in person will find the polls open from noon to 9pm.

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