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Voting under way in Capital Region

Turnout at or above 2011 levels in city of Schenectady

November 5, 2013
Updated 5:11 p.m.
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Schenectady city resident Terry Hurlburt fills out his ballot before scanning, at the Schenectady High School gymnasium on Tuesday morning.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Schenectady city resident Terry Hurlburt fills out his ballot before scanning, at the Schenectady High School gymnasium on Tuesday morning.

— After weeks and sometimes months of campaigning by candidates running for local elected offices, today is the day voters make their decisions.

In the city of Schenectady voter turnout appears to be down from two years ago, but the county is up, based on a sampling of election districts.

Hundreds of Election Day polling places will be open across the region from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Many county and town races across the region aren’t being contested because one political party is dominant. But there are also some highly contested local elections.

New city mayors are being chosen this year in Saratoga Springs, Mechanicville, Albany and Johnstown; City Council seats are being contested in Schenectady; and Montgomery County voters will be picking their first county executive. A new sheriff will be selected in Saratoga County.

A look at the statewide propositions up for vote today:

Proposition 1: Amends the state constitution to allow up to seven non-indian, live-table casinos in New York. If approved, the first four casinos would be put in upstate New York, including at least one in the Capital Region.

Proposition 2: Amends the state constitution to entitle a veteran who has received civil service credit for a civil service appointment or promotion, and subsequently is certified as disabled, to additional civil service credit at a subsequent appointment or promotion.

Proposition 3: Amends the state constitution to extend the ability of counties, cities, towns and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities until Jan. 1, 2014.

Proposition 4: Would settle a 100-year-old land dispute in Hamilton County by allowing the state to clear certain title in exchange for funding to purchase lands that would be added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve for public recreation.

Proposition 5: Would give a mining company access to 200 acres of state Forest Preserve in exchange for funding the purchase of 1,500 acres of forests for the state.

Proposition 6: Amends the state constitution to allow a justice of the state Supreme Court and a judge of the state Court of Appeals to serve until they are 80 years old.

After weeks and sometimes months of campaigning by candidates running for local elected offices, today is the day voters make their decisions.

But even in communities where local races aren’t contested, voters have reason to turn out because of six statewide ballot propositions, the first of which would legalize casino gambling in New York.

Advocates of the legalization, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, say that having Las Vegas-style gambling on non-Indian lands would create jobs and promote economic activity, give New Yorkers who now travel elsewhere to spend their gambling money a local alternative and generate new revenue for state coffers.

There would be up to seven casinos authorized if the referendum passes, with one to be located in the Capital Region. The most likely location would be Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which now offers video lottery terminal gambling and betting on harness racing. A $30 million expansion is already being planned there in anticipation of enhanced gaming opportunities.

Opponents of the measure point to the risk of increased gambling addiction and to the fact that customers — whose losses are at the heart of a casino’s business model — come primarily from people with middle to low incomes. And administrators of the performing arts worry about well-funded competition for performers.

People with last-minute questions may contact their county board of elections. Sample ballots will be available for inspection at all polling places.

 
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