Voters in the village and part of Malden, as well as Barclay Heights and Glasco, in all major local parties except the Democratic Party, will head to the polls Thursday, Sept. 10 to decide who gets to appear on which party lines at the big show in November.
Two of Saugerties’ three legislative districts are affected. In District I, which includes pretty much everything west of the Thruway and north of the village, Mary Wawro (R) has no opponent for the primary or the general election.
The District III contest is fairly straightforward: Just Republican voters, Fabiano of Saugerties vs. Kovacs of the town of Ulster. (Over half of District III is in Ulster.)
District III is more complicated. As far as names appearing on the ballot, it’s similar to District III, with two candidates, Angie Minew and Santos Lopez, facing off head-to-head for the Republican nomination. For two other parties, Conservative and Independence, just one name (Minew) will appear on the ballot, with space for a write-in candidate. (Green Party will also appear on the ballot, with no name, just a write-in.)
In a primary, such write-in contests are forced by “opportunity to ballot” petitions by candidates; a complicated arrangement that even seasoned elected officials have a hard time explaining in brief. Suffice it to say, it involves gathering a lot of signatures, and it’s a way for candidates to force primaries on lines for parties they’d otherwise never woo the local committees into granting them. But they’re very hard to win, as voters have to go into the booth knowing all this – there are no instructions or explanation as to who is seeking which lines. (We only know because we asked candidates.)
Such campaigns tend to work better with smaller parties. For example, as a Democratic candidate asking for Republican write-in votes, Chris Allen faces a difficult challenge in securing a plurality of District II’s 1,363 voters against two other names on the ballot. Compare that to Independence (317), Conservative (152) or, the easiest of all, Green (17), where a targeted write-in campaign has a much better chance of succeeding.
District II residents will vote at the Senior Center and Glasco Firehouse; District III residents at the firehouse (see map). Polls are open noon to 9 p.m. The primary only affects the County Legislature seats because local town candidates were decided previously at party caucuses, which cannot be challenged through opportunity to ballot.