BATAVIA — At about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday, one-third of Genesee County’s eligible voters had cast their ballots in this year’s election, a county Board of Elections commissioner said.
For Rebecca Eldridge of Batavia, it meant stopping at two different polling sites. She first went to the Senior Center, but because of where she lived, the polling site staff there told her she needed to vote in Stafford.
“I’m still in Batavia, but I’m on the outskirts, so I can’t do it here, I have to do it at the Stafford location,” she said.
“I think it’s important for everybody to vote, but with all the stuff going on now, the cost of living now, it’s just ridiculous. It’s crazy,” she said. “My husband and I, we own a small business. I’m also a teacher. It (the cost of living) is hurting businesses, it’s hurting schools.”
The gubernatorial race between current Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democratic and Working Families candidate and Republican and Conservative candidate Lee Zeldin is the biggest race this year, Eldridge felt.
“Kathy Hochul needs to go,” she said. “I don’t feel that she’s done anything to benefit us. I think she’s hurt us.”
The Batavia resident said she would vote for state Assembly incumbent and Republican and Conservative candidate Stephen Hawley in the 139th District race against Democrat Jennifer A.O. Keys.
“He’s done a lot, even on a personal level. I contacted him a few years back because I had issues with the school district,” Eldridge said. “It took one day. He went right into the school district on behalf of one of my kids.”
A Batavia man who asked that his name not be used said he was voting mainly for the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat and Working Families candidate Charles Schumer, Republican and Conservative candidate Joe Pinion, and LaRouche candidate Diane Sare.
“I’m more interested in making sure that folks that actually believe that the last election was a legitimate election are still in office going forward,” he said of the midterm elections. “I’m more worried about the voter fraud claims and things like that.”
The man on his way into the Genesee County Senior Center on Bank Street to vote, said he’s registered as an unaffiliated voter.
County Democratic Election Commissioner Lorie Longhany said there was a steady turnout at the polling sites she checked Tuesday morning — the Salvation Army in the city of Batavia and the William W. Stuart Forum at Genesee Community College. The polling site for town District 12-03 voters had been changed this week from the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC to the Stuart Forum due to unforeseen circumstances and scheduling conflicts, the county said Monday.
“I know there’s some voters … at GCC that are frustrated because they didn’t know ahead of time (about the poll site change). Even then, both of our coordinators have done a wonderful job,” Longhany said Tuesday.
She said GCC has been very helpful with golf carts available for people who physically had trouble getting from their vehicles into the poll site. GCC’s security office was near the poll site and the staff there was willing to the voters as needed, she said.
“I know voters like things to be the same. They like their poll place to be the same and I get that. It’s frustrating, but, for the most part, the voters have been very courteous … with that one poll site that had to be moved,” Longhany said.
Mostly, it was a normal Election Day, the election commissioner said.
“We’ve been busy answering the phones. Our poll sites are directed to call us if the voter is signed up to be a permanent absentee voter and they decided they want to vote in person. We direct the coordinator to have the voter fill out an affidavit ballot. That’s common,” Longhany said. “Voters that have moved to another area in the county and they didn’t change their address are still eligible to vote. They just have to go to their new poll site and fill out an affidavit ballot and they’ll be counted. There’s a change of address with that affidavit ballot and we update their address after we get that back.”
Lani Helmer, 54, of Castile voted bright and early this morning as she votes every election because she believes it’s important to get the right people in office.
She felt that the proposition on the back of the ballot was important and that New York State can’t afford to pass an act like that.
Helmer said that it’s important for people to get out there and vote, “to make sure your values are carried on — what’s important to you is how and why you should vote.”
Marissa Bernand, 22, of Castile said that its important for young people to get out and vote because she thinks these elections are going to affect young people not the older generation.
“We’re the ones who have to live with this, not them,” said Bernard.
Dan Harter, 71, of Pike said that he votes in every election, including the primaries and feels that voting is important for voices to be heard.
“We have a say and need to exercise our voices,” said Harter. “We have a say and need to exercise our voices,” said Harter. He said that it is important for women to have the right to make decisions for their own bodies and that although he doesn’t like inflation as much as the next person, it is something that will change with time.
Taylor Wilkie, 22, of Silver Springs believes that every vote counts and that people choosing not to vote because they feel their vote “doesn’t matter” makes it harder for change of any kind to be made.
“This election I researched each of the candidates to see where they stood on issues important to me like education, the criminal justice system, public health, and the environment,” said Wilkie.
Wilkie feels that voting is a privilege afforded to people in the United States and that if people want a representative government that they need to take advantage of the most accessible ways to ensure the issues they care about are addressed.
Tuesday was election day, and poll sites were busy.
At the Hoag Library in Albion Jill, an election inspector who declined to give her last name, said she was very pleased with the turnout.
“We’ve had a lot of young people come in to vote,” she said, watching as a young man who looked to be in his 20s cast his ballot.
While Orleans County didn’t have any contested races on the local ballot, Shelby voters came together to vote on a town proposition.
The proposition on the ballot asked voters shall the term of office for the Shelby Town Supervisor be increased from two years to four years.
While there were no contested local races, there were contested federal and state races.
Elsewhere, in Livingston County, voter turnout was strong Tuesday at the Livonia Public Library polling site where more than 400 people had cast ballots by noontime.
Poll worker Jo Buchanan said she has not seen that kind of turnout for sometime.
“It has been a great turnout and more than we expected,” Buchanan said. “We have been constantly busy. Usually we will get people early in the morning and then maybe at lunchtime and then after work but I am just stunned.”
Election Inspector Dick Nesbitt said New York’s governors race has been a big part of the draw.
“It is an off year for the big elections, like the presidential election, but it is the governor’s race,” said Nesbitt.
Hochul, a Democrat, is seeking election to a full-term against Lee Zeldin, a Republican and Congressman representing eastern Long Island.
Hochul has been serving as the state’s 57th governor since Aug. 24, 2021, taking over the job after Andrew Cuomo resigned after being accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct.
Hochul is the state’s first female governor.
“We really need to change this state. Everything is pretty upside down at the moment with one party ruling everything and there needs to be a balance,” said Livonia resident Frank Seelos
Along with his wife Deborah they came out to vote together and said are concerned about crime, responsible use of tax dollars and abortion.
“It distresses me a lot that our current governor wants to make New York State a draw, a magnet if you will, for abortion and that she intends to and already has begun to use tax payer dollars for something that is so ethically charged,” said Deborah.
Also coming to vote was Anne Mosher and her husband Fred Mosher of Livonia.
“I vote every year, at every election because it is important,” said Fred Mosher.
Keeping jobs in New York State is a key issue for the Moshers.
“Our children have left because there are not jobs, so those are big things,” said Anne.
Buchanan said bringing out voters allows citizens to have their voices be heard.
“I just think people are fed up with what has happened the last four or five years and also, too, because of the issues, ya know at least they are coming out and voicing their opinions,” said Buchanan.
A NOTE ABOUT ELECTION RESULTS: The results of the general election were not available as of deadline for this edition of the paper. Look for results online at www.thedailynewsonline.com and for additional coverage in Thursday’s print edition.
(Includes reporting by Margret Lee, Mallory Diefenbach, and Brendan McDonough.)