Members of the Woodstock Democratic Committee — there are two from each election district, for a total of 18 — serve a term of two years. Up for grabs on September 14 are the seats in District 3, where the field includes incumbents Tom Ocker and Jane Kelly Valand and challengers Mary Phillips-Burke and Michael Veitch, and in District 4, where challenger Ken Panza seeks to replace either of two incumbents, Thurman Greco or Steve Knight.
In each district race, the two candidates with the highest vote totals will gain seats on the WDC. All voting on September 14 will take place from noon to 9 p.m. at the town’s designated polling places. For Democrats residing in District 3, the location is the Zena (Company No. 4) firehouse, at 443 Zena Road, while those who live in District 4 will cast their ballots at the Community Center, at 56 Rock City Road.
WDC members from the town’s other election districts are serving unexpired terms, so Democratic voters from those districts will not participate in the WDC election, although they — along with registered Republicans and Conservatives — may vote in their party’s primary contests for state and federal offices. The chairman of the Woodstock Republican Committee, William West, could not be reached on September 8 for comment on his committee’s electoral status.
Woodstock’s other polling places are as follows: for Districts 1, 7, and 8 (as well as 4), the Community Center; for District 2, the Lake Hill (Company No. 3) firehouse, at 4128 Route 212; and for Districts 5 and 9, the Wittenberg (Company No. 2) firehouse, at 367 Wittenberg Road.
In statewide gubernatorial contests, the current state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is unopposed so there is no Democratic primary, but the Republican race pits Rick Lazio, a former U.S. congressman and senatorial candidate from Long Island, against Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino. In the Conservative Party primary for governor, Lazio faces Ralph Lorigo. Also on the September 14 ballot is a Conservative primary for lieutenant governor, in which the candidates are Gregory Edwards and Thomas Ognibene.
The Democratic primary for attorney general features a crowded field of five aspirants:
state assemblyman Richard Brodsky; state senator Eric Schneiderman; Sean Coffey, a trial lawyer and political novice; Eric Dinallo, a former state insurance superintendent; and Kathleen Rice, the current Nassau County district attorney.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed by Governor David Paterson in 2009 to succeed Hillary Clinton when the latter joined the Obama administration, faces a challenger, Brooklyn trial attorney Gail Goode, in the Democratic primary to fill out the two-year unexpired term of the seat that Gillibrand currently holds. The term expires in 2013. Three Republicans — Joseph DioGuardi, David Malpass, and Bruce Blakeman —
are vying for the GOP nomination for Gillibrand’s seat. Incumbent Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, seeking election to a new, six year term, has no opponent for the Democratic nod, but two Republicans — Gary Bernsten and Jay Townsend, are vying for the nomination to oppose him in the general election.
The winners of the primaries will represent their party in the November 2 general election.++
The soul of new machines
One good reason to go to the polls on primary day, even if you don’t quite know who the candidates may be, is that you’ll have a chance to try out the state’s new optical scanner voting machines. The new voting method will be in place in all polling places for the noon-9 p.m. September 14 primary elections.
It might remind you of an SAT test, or some other standardized method of evaluation, in that you’ll given an 8.5x17 inch ballot of thick paper stock that you will mark with blue or black ink. Candidates will be listed in familiar ballot fashion and you’ll fill in the oval to the right of the name of the candidate. Same way with a yes or no proposition, fill in the circle. Making any other mark on the ballot will void it.
If you want to change your ballot, you can get another one.
There is a type of folder, or privacy hood that will shield your ballot and you’ll approach the voting machine with the end of the ballot protruding from the folder, and insert the end into the machine, which, much like a change machine grabbing your dollar, will take hold of it, pull it into the machine and read the marks. If the machine doesn’t want to read your ballot, you have up to three tries, so you can correct it if there are stray marks or if you’ve, for instance, marked two candidates when you should have marked only one.
What does appear easier is that at the bottom of the ballot, there is a place to write in a candidate. As you’ll already be wielding a pen, you won’t have to search for the pencil in the voting booth, nor will you have to find the slot atop the lines.
As usual, polls will be equipped to take affidavit ballots if there is any disagreement as to a person’s registration. ++