Voters will decide multitude of local races

People cast their votes on the first day of early voting for the 2020 general election at the Jefferson County Office Building on Arsenal Street in Watertown. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Tuesday is a big day for local government — primary day.

In a series of elections across the north country, voters will select their political party’s nominee for a variety of local races at the county, city, town and village levels.

Early voting for these primary elections has been open since June 12, and voters were able to head to their county Board of Elections offices to cast ballots. Across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, 226 people voted early for this year’s primary elections.

Tuesday is the official Election Day, and poll sites will open wherever at least one primary race is being held. New York state has closed primaries, meaning only voters registered to the party holding a primary may vote in that primary election.

Voters can find their polling sites online at

All polling sites will be open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday.

In Jefferson County, there are a variety of Republican Party primaries up and down the ballot.

At the county level, there are three primary elections Tuesday. In the southeast side of Watertown, in Legislative District 13, Board of Legislators Chairman Scott A. Gray is running against Timothy “T.J.” Babcock. In the town of Champion and part of Fort Drum, covered by Legislative District 7, voters will have a choice between incumbent legislator John D. Peck and current town councilman, Matthew T. Gump. In Legislative District 3 — Alexandria, Orleans and LeRay — incumbent legislator Philip N. Reed Sr. is facing a challenge by Gene-Paul Brennan.

In Watertown, there are two primaries for City Council. One is for a full, four-year term on the council and another for the remaining two years of former councilman Jesse C.P. Roshia’s term.

The Watertown City Council is non-partisan, so any registered voter in the city is eligible to vote in both primary races.

In the race for the four-year term, each voter will choose two of the following six candidates: incumbent councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero, Michelle L. Capone, Robert T. Schorr, Clifford G. Olney III, Douglas R. Rice and Ben P. Schoen. The four candidates with the most votes after Tuesday will stand for the council seat in November’s general election.

For the two-year seat, each voter will pick one candidate out of three: Amy P. Horton, Patrick J. Hickey and Jason M. Traynor. The two with the most votes will stand for the seat in November’s general election.

In all, Republican voters in Jefferson County will be able to vote in a primary election if they live in the towns of Alexandria, Antwerp, Champion, Ellisburg, Henderson, LeRay, Lyme, Orleans, Pamelia, Rodman, Rutland, Worth or the village of Cape Vincent.

Voters in Champion’s First District will see a change in their polling site this year. Instead of voting at the high school, voters in Champion’s First District can cast their ballots at the Champion Fire Station at 20220 County Route 47, Carthage.

For Lewis County voters, there are primary elections scheduled for three seats on the Lewis County Board of Legislators. In District 10, which covers the southern Lewis County towns of Lewis and Leyden, Jeffrey Nellenback is running against Lawrence Hoffert in a Republican and Conservative primary.

In District 7, which covers the towns of Martinsburg and Turin, incumbent legislator Greg Kulzer is facing a challenge from village of Turin mayor, Joshua Leviker. Both men are also running in the Conservative and Republican primaries.

In District 5, which represents the village of Lowville, incumbent Richard Chartrand is running against Erik Griffin, solely for the Republican Party nomination.

There will also be Republican primary elections in the towns of Denmark, Diana, Greig, Lewis, Martinsburg, Turin, West Turin, Leyden, Watson, as well as the Fifth District in Lowville.

Lewis, Martinsburg, Turin, Leyden and the village of Lowville’s Fifth District will also have ballots available for Conservative Party primaries.

Voters can head to their usual polling places to cast their ballots in most instances, except for Leyden and West Turin.

Polling sites have been combined in Leyden and West Turin. Leyden voters will cast their ballots at the Leyden School House in Talcottville, and West Turin voters will cast their ballots at the Constableville Fire Hall.

In St. Lawrence County, there are no primary races for the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, or for three seats up for re-election on Ogdensburg City Council.

There will be Republican Party primaries in the towns of Canton, Clifton, Colton, Fowler, Hammond, Morristown and Russell.

The Conservative Party will hold primaries in Canton and Morristown.

St. Lawrence County will also have the only Democratic primaries in the three counties, for positions on town council in Louisville and Norfolk.

Across the north country, elections officials are asking that voters wear masks if they have not been completely vaccinated against COVID-19, although fully vaccinated people can choose not to wear one if they wish.

In some instances, poll sites may be inside schools or other facilities that require everyone wear a mask regardless of vaccination status — masks will be required to enter these polling sites.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

I write about north country politics, Jefferson County and the northern shoreline towns of Lyme, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay

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