ITHACA, N.Y. –– Today across Tompkins County voters have been showing up to polls to vote in this year’s local primary elections. The Ithaca Voice stopped by some of the polls midday June 22 to catch up with both workers and voters and here’s what they had to say. 

Poll workers at the Mclean Fire Department (Gronton District 4)

“It’s a long day, I’m here from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. (I’ve seen) two dozen people,” Massimo Sammons, Tompkins County poll worker, said. 

While at the Mclean Fire Department, some other poll workers commented on the cost of elections themselves and said how they are thankful to be able to have these elections even at such a small capacity. 

Voters at the Danby Fire Station (Danby Districts 1 and 3)

“As a resident of Danby I thought it was my duty to cast my ballot,” Karl Mageo said. “The biggest one is the highway superintendent, fairly important in a place like Danby, you know, taking care of our roads.”

Voters at the Tabernacle Baptist Church (Ithaca’s 5th Ward)

Some voters had more than just local elections on their minds –– one person the Voice talked to shared her thoughts on the highly contested New York City mayoral election

“I think we should start having ranked-choice voting in Ithaca,” a woman preferring to use just her first name, Connie said. “That way you can express your first vote, your second vote and your third vote… In New York City, for the mayoral election, for the very first time they’ve got ranked-choice voting.”

Another person we spoke to in the fifth ward commented on the contested nature of this neighborhood’s ballot. The fifth ward is the only Common Council seat with more than one candidate after first ward candidates Shaniya Foster and Yasmin Rashid both dropped out earlier this month. Candidates Marty Hiller and Robert Cantelmo are both vying for the position. 

“Local primaries are very important because in our community that’s where you’re really making a choice,” said Michael Divo. “For the most part, Democrats are probably going to be elected so this is where the real choice comes from.”

Voters at Mclean Fire Department (Gronton District 4) 

“I’m feeling pretty good,” William Cummings, resident of Gronton, said, “as far as any hopes I think either one of them (candidates) is very qualified. I voted for Ellard Keister today. He did a good job at campaigning and stopped at my place a couple times. He actually stopped a couple minutes ago and said ‘today’s the day’ so I came down here.”

The two candidates in the Republican primary in Groton District 4 are Ellard Keister and Kenneth Carr. Both Keister and Carr are running for the position of Highway Superintendent, which is a 4 year term in the town of Groton. Keister has been an employee of the Town of Groton highway department for 16 years. Carr has worked for the Town of Groton highway department for the past 12 years, alongside working at the Mclean Fire Department.

Voters at Varna Community Center (Dryden District 4 and 9)

“I hope the candidate I support wins,” Barbra Bedford, resident of Dryden said, “I’m looking for a kind of candidate that is compassionate and generous and will become really engaged with the citizens of Dryden, and who isn’t mean or stingy and wants money for things other than helping people.” 

“I think it’s great that the democrats have four different primaries for the county legislature… I hope that we continue to have good representation in the county legislature and the kind of leadership that they’ve provided over the years to make Tompkins county the livable, progressive place that it is,” Jim Gustafson, resident of Dryden and an official with the Tompkins County Democratic Committee, said. 

There are a total of 18 different places to cast your ballot for the Tompkins County primary elections today, all are open until 9 p.m. Preliminary results will be posted to The Ithaca Voice once they are made available by the Tompkins County Board of Elections this evening, June 22. Though final results will be available after several days once absentee and mail-in ballots are counted. 

Written by Ithaca Voice Interns Mikayla Rovenolt and Desiree Holz