Today is Election Day!
And here’s yet another reminder, as if we, as voters, aren’t inundated with enough calls, texts, emails and letters from candidates: Your vote really does matter, particularly in local races. Just last year, Tupper Lake’s mayoral race was tied at the end of Election Day — the race was ultimately decided by absentee and affidavit ballots, and there was only a 32 vote difference between the two candidates.
If you haven’t voted already, it is worth making time in your day to get out to the polls and cast your ballot. If you have to work on Election Day and aren’t sure whether you’ll have time to get to the polls, know that employers are legally required to give employees two hours of paid time off to vote, as long as they meet certain requirements.
“Generally, New York state employees are eligible for up to two hours of paid time off to vote if they do not have ‘sufficient time to vote.’ An employee is deemed to have ‘sufficient time to vote’ if an employee has four consecutive hours to vote either from the opening of the polls to the beginning of their work shift, or four consecutive hours between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls,” according to the state Board of Elections. “For example, if an employee is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the polls are opened from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., the employee is not eligible for paid time off to vote, because the polls are open for four consecutive hours after the employee’s shift ends at 5 p.m. However, if an employee is scheduled to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., then the employee is eligible for paid time off to vote, because the employee only has three consecutive hours off in the beginning of their shift and end of their shift.”
Statewide races, bond act
There are a number of candidates on the ballot for statewide offices. In the race for governor and lieutenant governor, New Yorkers will choose between Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, and Lee Zeldin and Alison Esposito on the Republican and Conservative party lines. Voters will also elect a state comptroller: Incumbent Thomas DiNapoli is running on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, Paul Rodriguez is running on the Republican and Conservative party lines. The state attorney general slot is also up for election this year, with Attorney General Letita James, on the Democratic and Working Families lines, defending her seat against Michael Henry on the Republican and Conservative lines. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is running for reelection against Joe Pinion (Republican, Conservative) and Diane Sare (LaRouche party line).
There is also a statewide referrendum on the back of the ballot this year. Voters will decide whether the state should approve or reject the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, which would direct $4.2 billion in state funding toward mitigating the impacts of climate change. A portion of the money — $1.5 billion — would be for air and water pollution reduction and climate change mitigation — green energy like wind, solar and heat pumps; zero-emission school buses; urban tree programs; retrofitting buildings with efficient products; and carbon sequestration on land. Around $1.1 billion of the money would be for flood risk reduction — shoreline restorations, relocating or repairing infrastructure and roads at risk to flooding and restoring the environment from flood damage. There is also $650 million for water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades, shoreline preservation and algal bloom prevention and another $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation.
In this region, voters will choose three candidates to serve as a state Supreme Court Justice. There are six candidates running: Lake Placid’s Allison McGahay (Republican, Conservative), Teneka Frost (Democratic), Richard Kupferman (Republican), Robert Muller (Democratic, Conservative), Chris Obstarczyk (Republican) and Vincent Versaci (Republican, Conservative).
Voters will also choose between Rep. Elise Stefanik (Republican, Conservative) and Matt Castelli (Democratic) to represent the 21st Congressional District in the House.
Voters who live in the 45th state Senate District will choose between reelecting Dan Stec (Republican, Conservative) and electing challenger Jean Lapper (Democratic).
In the 115th state Assembly District — which, after redistricting, now includes the towns of North Elba, Jay, Keene and Wilmington– Billy Jones (Democratic, Broadband Now) is defending his seat against Stephen Chilton III (Republican, Conservative).
In Essex County, county Treasurer Michael Diskin and Sheriff David Reynolds are running unopposed.
In Franklin County, voters countywide will choose a district attorney. There are two candidates: Elizabeth Crawford (Republican, Conservative) and Jonathan Miller (Democratic). Sheriff Jay Cook is running unopposed, as are the three candidates for coroner: Brian Langdon (Democratic), Ronald Keough (Republican) and Myron Leonard, Jr. (Republican).
Voters in Franklin County District 6 — which includes Tupper Lake, Santa Clara and with redistricting, Brighton — will choose between Paul Maroun (Conservative) and Nedd Sparks (Republican, Integrity).
In Franklin County District 7 — which includes Harrietstown — there are four candidates on the ballot, but only two of them are running: Jeff Branch (Common Ground) and Danielle Carr (Independent North Country). The candidates on the major party lines, incumbent Lindy Ellis and Leigh Wenske, have both dropped out. Ellis has endorsed Carr; Wenske endorsed Branch.
Voters in Piercefield will choose a St. Lawrence County surrogate court judge. There are two candidates: Michelle Holmes Ladouceur (Democratic, Conservative for the People) and Nick Pignone (Republican).
In a few towns within the Enterprise coverage area, there are local races in addition to state and county races.
In Tupper Lake, voters will choose a town supervisor from two candidates — Rickey Dattola (Conservative) or John Gillis (Democratic, Republican). Leonard Young III is running for town justice unopposed. In Tupper Lake’s second and third election districts, John McClain and Eric Shaheen are running unopposed for village board seats.
In the town of North Elba, town Justice Alec Friedmann is running unopposed.
In Harrietstown, David Hayes is running unopposed for town justice.
In Keene, Reginald Whitney, Jr. is running unopposed for highway superintendent.
In Wilmington, a town justice seat is up for election with no candidates officially on the ballot.
In Santa Clara, Jeffrey Dickson is running unopposed for town justice. Thomas Meldrin and Robert Curry are running unopposed for town council seats.
Some towns will also have cannabis on the ballot this year.
In the towns of North Elba, Jay and Wilmington, voters will see either one or two propositions on the back of the ballot related to cannabis.
In North Elba, the cannabis proposition is split in two. Proposition two relates to cannabis dispensaries, and a “no” vote would mean a voter wants dispensaries to be allowed to operate in town. A “yes” vote would mean a voter doesn’t want dispensaries.
Proposition three relates to on-site cannabis consumption, meaning that businesses would be allowed to apply for a license that would authorize patrons to smoke on-site. A “yes” vote would mean a voter doesn’t want businesses to be able to obtain these licenses; a “no” vote means a voter wants businesses to be able to obtain these licenses.
In the towns of Jay and Wilmington, both dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses are combined in one proposition on the back of the ballot. A “yes” vote means dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses wouldn’t be allowed. A “no” vote means they would be allowed.
Polls are open today from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To find out where your polling place is, visit voterlookup.elections.ny.gov or call your county Board of Elections office.
Absentee ballots must reach the county board of election by close of the polls on Election Day or be postmarked no later than the day of the election and received by Nov. 15.
As in past years, Enterprise reporters will be out in the field today speaking with voters, candidates and putting together coverage of the election. Our coverage of election results will be online tonight. Polls close long after our press deadline for our print edition, so our coverage of the results will be in print on Thursday, Nov. 10.
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