A stunningly high number of the thousands of local officials across New York State who will be elected into office on Tuesday are in uncontested races, reports Trailblazers PAC, the nonpartisan organization educating and investing in candidates who take action for honest government.
Trailblazers PAC found that over two-thirds of races in upstate New York counties like Schuyler, Schoharie, Tompkins, and Steuben are already a foregone conclusion, with no choice presented for voters who show up this Tuesday.
“Too many barriers stand in the way of voters joining the conversation. We see low voter turnout, increasing political polarization, and huge swaths of uncontested elections. When there’s only one name on the ballot, it denies voters a choice,” said Trailblazers PAC Founder and President Leslie Danks Burke. “At Trailblazers PAC, we’re working to change this by building more contested races, helping candidates connect with actual voters in their districts, and asking incumbents to prove themselves to voters every time they’re up for election.”
Two counties – one dominantly Democratic and the other strongly Republican – illustrate the staggeringly high rates of uncontested races across upstate New York.
The highest rate of uncontested elections is in Tompkins County, where Democrats are 51% of the electorate and Republicans 21%. Fully 73% of Tompkins County races are uncontested, or 44 of 60 seats. There are no contested races at all in the Tompkins County municipalities of Caroline, Danby, Enfield, Town of Ithaca, and Newfield.
Rates are similar in nearby Steuben County, even though the electorate is reversed, with Republicans comprising 50% percent of the population and 25% registered Democratic. In Steuben County, 67% of races are uncontested (or 118 out of 175 total races). Within Steuben County, the municipalities of Cameron, Avoca, Addison, Canisteo, Fremont, Greenwood, Howard, Wheeler, West Union, and Woodhull have no contested races at all.
With “Front Porch Politics” as a motto, Trailblazers PAC has provided workshops and information sessions across New York State for over 600 attendees since the organization launched earlier this year. Trailblazers PAC also donates directly to candidates who meet campaign finance standards that are higher than law currently requires, with two dozen endorsed candidates running in 2017. A full list of Trailblazers PAC candidates is available on our Endorsements Page.