Races to watch in Ithaca and Tompkins County this Election Day

For voters in Ithaca and Tompkins County, there are several uncontested races, but plenty of ballots do have races with opponents, and we all have statewide referenda to consider.

New York State has three ballot proposals, one of which being the every-twenty-years opportunity for New Yorkers to call for a Constitutional Convention. It’s a potential opportunity for wholesale changes to the way New York politics works — or doesn’t — but opponents are concerned it’s another chance for powerful special interests to influence the system.

City of Ithaca voters have a chance to consider a proposal for a new system of four volunteer advisory commissions to replace what Mayor Svante Myrick calls “dozens of committees — many with outdated missions — that have proven to be a barrier to productive citizen input.” Mayor Myrick, who urges a yes vote, says “We’ve worked for years in an open and transparent process to develop this new system. It will make it easier for your ideas to make it to Common Council, and ultimately into law.”

Ithaca Fifth Ward

Ithaca voters in the fifth ward also have an unexpected alderperson race to vote on a replacement for Josephine Martell, who announced she was resigning from her Ithaca Common Council seat this summer. At first, the City of Ithaca sought applicants to serve as a temporary replacement through the end of 2017, but ultimately decided to let the three who’d stepped forward run in the general election, without giving one of them the advantage of incumbency, however brief.

The three candidates are Laura A. Lewis, running on the Democratic and Neighborhood Partners ballot lines, Melissa Hall, running on the Fall Creek Voice line, and Aryeal M. Jackson, running on the Representation ballot line. All three might have sought the Democratic party nomination in a primary, but Martell’s resignation came too late to allow for a primary election.

Town of Ulysses

Another race that took an unusual route this year is the contest for Tompkins County legislator in District 5, serving the Town of Ulysses. The race between Democratic party nominee Anne Koreman and progressive challenger Keith Hannon almost didn’t make it to the ballot. Hannon’s original nominating petitions were ruled invalid after a challenge showed a small stray pen mark on one of the forms.

Town of Dryden

There are several races in the Town of Dryden, with contests for the Town Supervisor position and Town Council seats, though two out of three County Legislator seats are unopposed. Dryden’s election heated up last month as supporters found their candidate lawn signs had vanished.

Get out and vote

Especially in a year without a presidential election, or even major statewide seats on the ballot, even just a few votes can swing a race. If you’re registered to vote, we urge you to get to your polling place before 9pm.

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