Wonky Wednesday:  Early Voting General Election 2021

Welcome back to #wonkywednesday. Each week I take a deep dive into the election and registration data around Onondaga County to give a better sense of our diverse home. This week I continue to look back at the 2021 General Election. Today I focus on Early Voting and how Onondaga County voters used this reform.


Democrats continue to use the Early Voting reform more than any other party. Democrats make up just over 38.4% of the overall electorate of Onondaga County. In 2021 Democrats made up 39.5% of the turnout for the General Election. Therefore, it is significant that Democrats make up just under 52% of the Early Vote. This disparity can be directly traced back to both the rhetoric against Early Voting by the GOP and investment in Early Voting GOTV by the Democratic party. Of the 6 Early Voting sites Dewitt Town Hall dominated the Early Voting Turnout with 2728 voters voting there. Camillus Town Hall (2133) and Clay Town Hall (1918) followed at 2 & 3. Armond Magnarelli (1274) was fourth, Lafayette Fire Station (860) was fifth, and Syracuse Community Connections (764) was sixth.


2021 was an abnormally low turnout year. It was the lowest turnout in the General Election since 2015. Early Voting turnout was certainly lower than the tremendous turnout in 2020. In 2020 record turnout was reflected in overall raw Early Votes (59,284) and percentage of overall vote (24.96%). Though 2021 paled in comparison to 2020, it increased numbers and percentages from the last local year, 2019, despite lower turnout. 2021 Early Vote of 9727 was a 15% increase from 2019. The overall percentage of the electorate increased from 7.86% in 2019 to 10.31% in 2021 as well.


Local years have shown to have dramatically different turnouts to federal years in certain communities. The City of Syracuse had particularly low turnout in 2021 however Armond Magnarelli and Syracuse Community Connections saw higher voter totals (1274 & 768) in raw numbers than 2019 (938 & 727), however Syracuse Community Connections was a lower vote share (7.85%) than 2019 (8.59%) and Armond increased its vote share (13.10%) from 2019 (11.08%). Lafayette Fire Station & Camillus Fire Station saw an increase in their raw vote totals (890 & 2,133) from 2019 (665 & 1,130) and their share of the Early Vote (8.84% & 21.93%) from 2019 (7.86% & 13.35%). The big jump in Camillus may be attributed to the change of location as the western site was in Van Buren Town Hall in 2019. Dewitt Town Hall saw an increase in the raw vote totals (2,778) from 2019 (2,743). However, their overall voter share. .56%) dropped from 2019 (32.42%).  Finally, Clay Town Hall dropped in both raw numbers (1918) from 2019 (2,257) as wall as vote share (19.72%) from 2019 (26.67%). What we are seeing is more spread-out usage of the three main suburban sites from 2019 while the city sites and rural sites still lag in participation.


The location of Early Voting sites drives the participation from individual Towns and the City of Syracuse. In the above chart the green bars represent the five towns where Early Voting sites reside in:  Syracuse, Camillus, Clay, Dewitt & Lafayette. In terms raw turnout numbers, the City of Syracuse dominates the participation (2332) but also has two sites and more population than any individual town. Camillus (993) Clay (1263) and Dewitt (924) are also large participants as they are high population towns. In terms of percentage of the electorate Lafayette leads in overall percentages (9.76%) despite a low actual number (360). On the converse Syracuse overall percentage of usage (3.31%) is exceptionally low as is Clay (3.04%). Camillus (5.28%) and Dewitt (5.22%) remain high on percentage

As we look toward Early Voting Expansion in 2022 as we will have to look at the towns who do not participate as much, The Town of Manlius is one of the standouts for towns without an Early Voting site in It Though it must be noted the Dewitt Town Hall is on the border, still Manlius is second in over vote total (1400) and percentage (5.59%) despite not having an EV center in it.  Conversely the towns of Lysander (1.68%), Cicero (1.68%), Onondaga (2.23%) and Salina (1.78%) are particularly large towns that do not participate as well as Camillus, Clay, and Dewitt in Early Voting. Finally, the drop off in the City of Syracuse could be addressed with Early Voting sites inside them.

That is all for this week. Next week I will look at absentee voting in the 2021 General Election.

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