New York State is prepared for primary elections as the parties decide on candidates for U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. But there are worries about confusion this year as redistricting takes effect, the redrawing of boundary lines to reflect the loss of two congressional districts in New York. YNN's Bill Carey says the changes are significant and could catch voters off guard.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Matt Doheny and Kelli Greene are squaring off for the Republican nomination to run against democrat Bill Owens in what is now the 23rd District. But the shape of that district changes significantly for this year's election and even changes its number, from the 23rd to the 21st.
Three Democrats are battling to run against republican Tom Reed in what was the 29th District. But the counties making up that district have also changed, as has the district number, from 29th to 23rd.
A similar story in the 24th District, where incumbent Richard Hanna is challenged by tea party activist Mike Kicinski. Different look, different number: Now the 22nd.
It's all causing confusion for voters.
Judging from some recent history, voters may be going to the polls, here in the Town of Hastings, expecting to cast ballots in the Matt Doheny-Kelli Greene race. Instead, the names on the ballot here will be Richard Hanna and Mike Kicinski. And, in some neighboring towns in Oswego County, voters expecting to cast ballots in that Doheny-Greene race will find that they have no congressional primary to vote on, at all.
“We're going to get some phone calls over that,” said Oswego County Elections Commissioner Donald Wart.
Donald Wart and Dick Atkins, the elections commissioners in Oswego County, are bracing for what lies ahead.
Wart said, “People have been looking at the same pattern for the last ten years and now, suddenly, the state has lost some districts. Some population and some districts and now it just causes us to, or it causes the state to redistrict the whole county and the state.”
“I don't think anytime you have redistricting, I think you're going to confuse people. Because they get into a habit of voting in one location or one polling site and then, all of a sudden, they're moved. And they don't understand why they're moved,” Atkins said.
And shapes and numbers aren't the only concern.
“They have three primaries and that's new. And the date's way forward. Of course, that's new,” Representative Richard Hanna said. “So, yeah, it's hard to get people to go out and vote and turnout for the presidential primary was less than 12,000 for the 24th Congressional District. Not a great turnout.”
And no one is predicting anything but anemic turnout for this round of voting.
And if you thought a handful of congressional primaries caused confusion, wait until September, when primaries will decide a number of races for reshaped State Assembly and Senate districts.
And to add to the confusion, primary day was moved to avoid a conflict with September 11th remembrances. So, instead of voting on Tuesday, the 11th, the voting will take place on the 13th, a Thursday.