While national political attention may be on the 2020 election cycle, local elections will be in the news in 2019, with all 14 Yates County Legislature seats on the Nov. 5 ballot, along with Yates County Sheriff, County Clerk, and Coroner, and 44 town offices (see list on page 11).
But the new twist in the 2019 local election year has local election officials and potential candidates working to meet some new deadlines, since the primary election date has been moved from the traditional early September to June 25, the fourth Tuesday in June.
Yates County Election Commissioners Robert Brechko (D) and Amy Daines (R) say their office has lost 11 weeks of time that is usually devoted to preparation for the state and local primary with the change, but they are confident they and their staff can handle the challenge.
At the root of the new dates is New York State’s plans to have election changes in place before the 2020 General Election. Those changes include providing early voting, and ensuring no voter waits longer than 30 minutes to cast a ballot. New York’s changes were made in response to new federal requirements extending the time for preparation of military ballots to 45 days before a general election.
The new primary date means potential candidates will be circulating party petitions between Feb. 26 and early April. That concerns some who need signatures because many Yates County voters spend part of the year out of the area, not returning until after the petitions must be filed. Brechko and Daines say there are no provisions in New York Election law for remotely signing petitions.
The first day to circulate Independent petitions this year will be in April. Those must be filed by May 28.
The date changes also mean voters will receive a reminder card about their polling place in April rather than July. Other dates important for voters to remember this year are:
May 31: The last day to register in person to vote in the primary, and to postmark a mail-in registration, which must be received by June 5.
June 5: Last day to file a change of address before the primary election
Oct. 11: The last day to register in person to vote in the general election, and to postmark a mail-in registration, which much be received by Oct. 16.
Oct. 16: Last day to file a change of address before the general election
Contact the board of elections for details about deadlines for voting by absentee and military ballots.
Candidates will also have new deadlines to meet for financial disclosure filing.
The new early voting requirement means Yates County officials will be prepared for voters to come to the Yates County Office Building for nine days beginning on a Saturday and ending on a Sunday this fall.
Watch for more details about important election changes as the year progresses. For details, contact the Yates County Board of elections at 315-536-5135 or visit YatesCounty.org.