Wonky Wednesday: Early Voting in the June 2022 Primary

Welcome back to #wonkywednesday. Each week I take a deep dive into the registration and election data that makes up our home, Onondaga County. This week I start my 4 week look back at the June 28, 2022 primary. This year we have two primaries because of the disastrous redistricting process in New York. On August 23rd, 2022, we will have the primaries for Congress and NY Senate. However, we just certified the June primary where Onondaga County held Democratic and Republican primaries for Governor, a Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, and members of the Pompey Town GOP Committee. In other parts of New York Assembly primaries happened as well, but we had none in Onondaga County. This week I will examine #earlyvoting during the June Primary.

Early Voting ran for 9 days June 18-26, 2022, for the June 28th primary. In a bill that was passed last year more mandated sites and more mandated hours were added to the reform. This meant that every day of Early Voting was a full 8-hour day (weekends were only 5 hours under the old law). It also meant expansion of the minimum number of sites. The voter threshold for minimum number of Early Voting sites meant that Onondaga County must have ten sites for the General election. In May Onondaga County designated their sites and you can see them here. However due to lower voter eligibility and conflicts for the two primaries from host sites we designated only eight of them for use in June and August.

During the June #Early Voting period 2761 voters checked in via the poll pads. Of those that checked in 2739 received ballots and voted on the machines. The other twenty-two voters received affidavit ballots. More voters also received affidavit ballots that did not check in since they were not part of the voter record. We will address affidavits in next week’s #wonkywednesday. Of the 2761 check-ins 2036 were Democrats, 722 were GOP, and three were not enrolled in a party and voted by affidavit. Of the eight sites for #Early Voting Dewitt town Hall was the most popular choice for voters with 790 check-ins at 29% of the overall vote. This was followed by Clay Town Hall (609 22%), OCC Mulroy Hall (361 13%), Armond Magnarelli Center in Syracuse (292 11%), Lysander Town Hall (223 8%), Lafayette Fire Station #1 (190 7%), Syracuse Community Connections (171 6%) and Beauchamp Library (103 4%).

Even though #Early Voting started in 2019, this is only the third primary for the reform as it started with the General election in 2020. Because of the combined primary in 2020 we only have three primaries to compare. We will get a fourth this year though. By all accounts Early Voting grew this year in both Raw Votes and percentage of the overall ballot. However, it is still hard to compare form year to year because of the circumstances of each election. In 2020 though it was a more popular primary in person voting was reduced as so many people chose to absentee reducing the raw numbers and vote share. In 2021 we only had primaries in the City of Syracuse and a few third-party primaries in the suburbs, so the raw number is much reduced. Still if we look at the Percentage of the Overall Vote June 2022 was the best share in a primary for #Early Voting when compared to the overall turnout with 10.71% of voters choosing this option.

We added three new sites for #Early Voting primary this year, OCC Mulroy Hall, Lysander Town Hall, & Beauchamp Library. A fourth site, North Syracuse Community Center will be added for the General Election. Likewise, one of our six original sites, Camillus Town Hall, had scheduling conflicts and we are not using them for June or August. Dewitt Town Hall led in both primaries it was used (2020 & 2022) while Armond Magnarelli was the winner in the City of Syracuse primary in 2021. Of the new sites OCC Mulroy Hall came in third place in 2022 and faired the best, Beauchamp Library unfortunately was the worst site overall. We are starting to see a pattern of usage emerging with top tier sites for primaries being Dewitt and Clay followed by mid-tier sites like Armond Magnarelli, Camillus (when used), and the possible additions of OCC Mulroy Hall and Lysander Town Hall into that group. Syracuse Community Connections Lafayette Fire Station and Beauchamp library look to be lower tired sites. This tracking of usage will allow us to start to adjust staffing levels at individual sites.

With the addition of more sites, we have more areas of the County closer to Early Voting sites than ever. It is no surprise that the closer to a site the higher percentage of your overall vote will choose Early Voting. Lafayette, though a smaller use site, votes the highest of its overall vote early at 17.96%; this is followed by the other Early Voting sites:  Dewitt (15.68%), Clay (12.19%), Onondaga (11.87%), Syracuse (11.27%) and Lysander (9.61%). The one town that outperforms without having an Early Voting site in it is Manlius at 11.94% of its voters choosing to Early Vote, however the Dewitt site is strategically located near the border allowing both towns to Access it. In fact, the three worst towns Elbridge (1.90%, Skaneateles (2.12%), and Spafford (3.17%) are the only three towns that do not border a town with an Early Voting site.

Next week we will look at the absentee ballot states for the June primary. In August, my #Wonky Wednesday blogs will be renamed to the #WeeklyWonk and released on the weekends. This way I can capture more data and have more time to author the articles then the mid-week release allows. Stay tuned.

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