Dustin M. Czarny is a longtime political activist in Syracuse, NY. He quickly became known as a behind the scenes political operative specializing in GOTV. During his political career he was often called upon to serve as an advisor in electoral law and parliamentary procedure. He has been serving as Onondaga County’s Election Commissioner (D) since January 1, 2013.
Growing up in Eastwood, Dustin originally attended Blessed Sacrament School for elementary but soon switched to the public schools. However he was bussed to HW Smith and Levy on Syracuse’s Eastside. Soon after his parents moved and he attended High Schools in Gainesville, FL, Cato, NY, and finally graduating in Skaneateles, NY. He credits his diverse educational background as one of the reasons he got interested in government, and Democratic politics.
During his college years in Gainesville, FL he started his political career. In 1994 he started volunteering as an office worker for the Alachua County Democratic Committee. Shortly after wards he was charged with reviving the dormant Alachua County Young Democrats committee, growing it to over 50 members in just six short months. He was also named as an At-Large committee member in the Alachua County Democratic Committee following the November elections.
Dustin decided to then return to his hometown of Syracuse, NY. Shortly after moving into Syracuse’s North Side, he volunteered for Ted Limpert’s 1997 mayoral campaign doubling as office manager and website designer. He then joined the First Ward Democratic Committee on Syracuse’s North Side. In 1998 Dustin became First Ward Chair of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee. In that role he served on a variety of statewide and local political campaigns. In 2001 he joined Matt Driscoll for Mayor’s campaign and served as GOTV manager. In 2002 he was appointed Syracuse City Chair in the OCDC.
In his role as City Chair he oversaw the 2003 city elections that saw a virtual sweep of Democratic office holders who ran for City Offices. In 2004 he joined the OCDC Executive Committee to help guide the OCDC as a whole. In 2006 upon relocating to Syracuse’s East Side, he was asked to chair Syracuse’s powerful 17th Ward Democratic Committee serving until 2010. Under his leadership, the 17th Ward Committee solidified its reputation as a powerful democratic organization providing large vote margins and fundraising to help Democratic candidates.
In September of 2012 he was nominated by the OCDC to be Elections Commissioner of Onondaga County (D) and was appointed by a unanimous vote of the Onondaga County Legislature. He was re-appointed in 2014 for a second term. In January of 2015 he was appointed as the the Legislative Committee chair for NYSECA (New York State Elections Commissioner Association) where he lobbied for election law changes on behalf of his fellow commissioners throughout the state. In 2016 he was once again nominated and re-appointed for a third term as Elections Commissioner of Onondaga County.
In 2017 his fellow Democratic commissioners in NYSECA to serve as Caucus Chair and continues to serve in that capacity. As Caucus Chair he organizes and leads the Democratic Election Commissioners from the diverse 62 counties throughout all of New York State. In 2018 he was once again re-nominated by the OCDC and approved unanimously by the Onondaga County Legislature.
In 2019 he led an effort to get New York State to fund non-capital election costs on the county level for the first time in State history. He has championed Early Voting and Electronic Poll books that have revolutionized the way elections are done in Onondaga County and New York State. A leading figure in Electoral Reform, he continues to pursue modernizing New York’s antiquated electoral system. He has also championed non-partisan independent redistricting and spearheaded an effort to bring that to the City of Syracuse in 2019.
In 2020 Czarny focused his efforts on expanding voting reforms in New York State, continuing his work on non-partisan independent redistricting, and running an efficient and robust set of elections at the Onondaga County Board of Elections. During the COVID-19 crisis he was a leading voice in how to adjust New York’s Electoral System and adjust to an unprecedented amount of absentee voting during the June primary and to prepare for the November 2020 election. In 2021 Czarny continued to lead his caucus of Democratic Elections Commissioners through the COVID-19 crisis. He also served as a commissioner on the Onondaga County reapportionment Commission and fought for fair district lines on the Onondaga County Legislature.
In 2022 Czarny looks forward to New York’s expansion of Early Voting. He also plans to work with the State Board of Elections on implementing changes to absentee ballot canvassing in New York. Redistricting continues to be a focus as changing district lines will alter election districts and polling places throughout Onondaga County.
Previously he served for over 11 years as an administrator for the City of Syracuse. He served as City Collections Manager, Special Projects Coordinator at the Department of Public Works, and Director of the Parking Violations Bureau. Before working with the City of Syracuse Dustin worked a variety of positions dealing with business collection and sales accounts working for the following companies: WYNIT, Galson Engineering, & The Processing Center.
Dustin Czarny was heavily involved in the Syracuse Arts community with over 25 years of involvement with various community theater organizations. Recently he served as Artistic Director for the Central New York Playhouse, a non-profit, all volunteer organization in Shoppingtown Mall that opened on November 1, 2012. In February 2020 Dustin ended his theatrical involvements to focus on the cause of Electoral Reform. Dustin is married to Heather Roach and is father to Grant and Kimberly Czarny.