I have been a political junkie since I was young. I stuffed envelopes for my first presidential campaign at the age of 12. Yes, that qualifies me as a junkie. Imagine my dismay when I realized that tomorrow is primary day in New York State and the recent flooding had totally put it out of my mind.
My immediate question/thought was that I was positive that polling locations had been effected and that the date would have to have been moved. I remember – in a flash back to 2001 – the primaries were on Sept. 11 and they were postponed statewide a week. I knew it was a possibility but had I totally spaced on news coverage of this and missed the announcement. No, the announcement – at least for Broome County – was out there but it was not what I thought.
Broome County Republican and Democratic leaders appealed to the state board of elections to allow postponement of the primaries but the request was denied as was an appeal to the governor’s office, according to an article in the Press & Sun-Bulletin. A direct quote from the newspaper is “Instead, local elections officials should set up tents and use generators on Tuesday, state elections officials told local leaders.”
In two major locales at least half of the polling places were effected by flooding. Add to that the thousands still in Red Cross shelters or staying with relatives or friends. One of this villages, Johnson City, has a lot riding on the local election. The current mayor and council are considering dissolution of the village. Who wins the primary can effect what will happen regarding this issue.
Broome County is going with the ruling that this primary cannot be postponed. Shuttle buses are being provided to polling locations. Emergency shelters will be visited by election officials to be sure those wanting to vote get their chance. The bigger problem is neighboring Tioga County. The county office building in the county seat Owego was under water and may still have water in it. It is a building that has flooded previously. A local news reporter cannot get a phone number that works to find out what is going on with those primaries.
The response by state and local official to the natural disaster this area has just experienced has been unbelievably good. I have heard few complaints but the handling, on the state level, of the primaries has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and extremely disillusioned.
For those of you able to vote tomorrow, just a reminder – my little PSA – that primary voting in upstate NY is from noon until 9 pm.