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Elections commissioners hope more people vote during a very 'local' year

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Voting on Tuesday, November 7, will see mostly local contests on the ballot in Monroe and surrounding contests. Presidential, congressional and state legislative contests will be held in 2024.
Max Schulte (File Photo) / WXXI News

The Monroe County Elections Commissioners are hoping a lot of people get out to vote on Tuesday in what is considered an ‘off-year’ election, since it doesn’t involve a presidential race.

But both Republican Commissioner Lisa Polito Nicolay and Democratic Commissioner Jackie Ortiz note that with this being a mainly ‘local’ year, it’s those types of contests that can be crucial to county residents.

“It's an important year,” said Nicolay, who said that local elections sometimes “get looked down upon as less exciting or less enthusiastic, because maybe there's not a lot of TV ads or a lot of social media hype. (But) when you live in a small community, those people that represent you on the town level, the county level, they make real decisions about your everyday life.”

In terms of turnout, while both commissioners are hoping a lot of people take advantage of their right to vote, neither is expecting a particularly large turnout.

Monroe County Election Commissioners, Republican Lisa Polito Nicolay (L), and Democrat Jackie Ortiz (R).

Ortiz said that at this point, the commissioners are figuring something to 20 to 25% of registered voters will turn out at the polls overall, including the early voting, absentees and Tuesday’s voting.

Nicolay expects a larger turnout in the towns compared to the city of Rochester.

Ortiz said that even though early voting numbers were higher this year than in some past years, when similar contests were on the ballot, early voting is probably just spreading out the voter numbers among the different voting options, rather than seeing a big increase overall in turnout.

“But until people really feel that enthusiasm in regards to voting and the process and their feelings in general about government and politics, I think that there will be a little bit more of a spread throughout the options as opposed to the increase.” But Ortiz does say that “everyone’s working hard to try to rebuild that confidence, and that’s the most important, because we want all eligible voters to participate.”

In Monroe County, the most publicized race is for County Executive featuring Democratic incumbent Adam Bello and Republican challenger Mark Assini. The balance of power in the closely divided county legislature is also up for grabs, and there are several other races in the county and city, although a number of the city contests were pretty much decided after the June primary with heavily Democratic voter registration in Rochester.

Nicolay said that there are 223 different neighborhood locations where people are assigned to vote, and if you don’t know where you are supposed to vote, check out the Monroe County Board of Elections app or call the board for more information at (585) 753-1550.

There is more information at the Monroe County Board of Elections website.

This story was originally posted on WXXI.