Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 6th, 2016

Getting Ready to Vote: The Road to November’s Election

In less than a month we can all celebrate that the 2016 election cycle will be over – That is at least something we can all agree on.

It took a lot of political campaigning, primaries, debates and mudslinging to get to the point where we are at today.

Counting down to Election Day November 8, 2016, Sullivan County Board of Elections Commissioners Cora Edwards and Lori Benjamin this week reminded potential voters that they have until October 14, 2016 to register to vote to participate in this year’s slugfests.

Sullivan County voters had to endure three primaries this year costing taxpayers over a hundred thousand dollars. These costs could have been minimalized if primaries were consolidated, but our lawmakers in Albany refuse to do so.

In fact, the most outrageous burden on Sullivan County taxpayers this year costing us over $20,000 was the primary for State Senate with a turnout of just 6.8 percent.

Because no Democratic candidate filed the needed petitions to be on the ballot for State Senate to avoid a Democratic primary, a write-in primary was held after a right to ballot petition was filed. Community activist Pramilla Malick won the write-in vote, and will face incumbent John Bonacic on Election Day.

Everyone has a right to seek election, but potential candidates should be aware of Board of Elections timelines and petitioning for the office they wish to seek.

In the Malick case, she could have avoided a primary and saved taxpayers a lot of money if she filed her Democratic nominating petitions by the July deadline.  She decided to run after learning that no one was challenging Bonacic.

Sullivan County – the size of Rhode Island – has slightly over 43,000 registered voters who are eligible to vote in November for the General Election.  There are 16,865 are registered Democrats and 12,235 registered Republicans, the remainder are either registered to a third party or have no political affiliation.

Although voter turnout is low, the electorate in our County has proven time and time again that party affiliation will not determine the outcome in an election.

Party affiliation does matter in a primary as New York State Law only allows those registered to a political party to participate. 

As noted above, we held three primaries during this year’s political cycle.  In April for Presidential candidates, June for the US Congressional candidates, and an “Opportunity to Ballot” Democratic primary for the New York Senate seat in the 42nd District, and a Republican primary in the 101 Assembly District which includes the Town of Neversink.

The April and June primaries brought out roughly 10% of those eligible to vote, and the September 13 primary brought out even less, with roughly 6.8% turnout.

The problem of poor voter turnout is not just a Sullivan County problem, but a statewide problem as well.

New York ranked of 49 out of 50 states in 2015, and 46 in 2015, in voter turnout rankings.  Those States that are in the top 10% of voter turnout have early voting and mail in voting such as Oregon which has a whopping 77% voter response rate.

The New York State Election Commissioners Association has been lobbying lobbies Albany lawmakers to consolidate primaries in order to save costs to the taxpayers and increase voter turnout.

This past legislative session, Albany lawmakers came closer than ever before in passing laws to consolidate primaries, but in the end they failed costing New York State taxpayers over $25 million. They refused to combine Congressional and State Primaries

People like to complain about how politicians are good at raising taxes, while being ineffective at governing, or fixing roads, or creating jobs and improving the economy – but in a democracy, if we don’t exercise our vote, then what right do we have to complain?  

Voting is the key to a robust democracy – and with the Presidential Election in November – we have a lot at stake.  

The world is watching how America will vote.  Will you turn up for this historic Election?  

The Board of Elections located in the Sullivan County Government Center will be open extended hours to accommodate those who wish to register to vote and for those desiring to vote by absentee ballot. Further information can be obtained by calling them at (845) 807-0400

The Sullivan County Board of Elections posted important information on its webpage located at:

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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