Villages Begin To Move Elections To November

In the last few years with Celoron leading the pack, villages in Chautauqua County have begun the process of moving elections from March to November.

When asked for the reasons why they made this move, villages echoed similar arguments.

“We pay for our own village elections,” Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann said as he talked about why Lakewood would be moving its elections to November starting in 2015. The village held a public referendum to move elections in November.

“It’s about $1,200, and if you hold it in November, it coincides of course with the national, state and county elections – the county actually pays for that,” Wordelmann said.

Village budgets are due in April, giving new officials elected in March only two weeks to look everything over before being expected to vote on it. By moving the election to November, officials will be given several months to familiarize themselves with the budget and the workings of the village.

Besides economic savings, voter turnout also increases by 12 times as much – as seen with the vote Lakewood held this past November asking residents if they wanted to move the elections to the fall starting in 2015. The vote yielded a turnout of more than 600 people as opposed to the normal 40 or 50 the village usually gets, according to Wordelmann.

“Sometimes it’s as little as 10 people,” said Brian C. Abram, Republican Commissioner of Elections for the Board of Elections in regards to voter turnout.

“… We’ve seen very low numbers and very low turnouts generally across the board.”

Abram also said the voting time frame is shorter in March than November with polls opening at noon and closing at 9 p.m. and all absentee ballots need to be in that day to be counted.

Finally, the overall warmer climate offered in the fall is preferred to the cold chill that can be found as winter only just begins to thaw into spring by candidates trying to campaign.

“Personally I can attest to this, but campaigning is a lot easier in the fall than it is this time of year,” Wordelmann said. “You typically would be starting now, and of course it’s cold – it’s a lot easier to walk around door to door in the fall when it is still nice out.”

Snowbirds also haven’t made their seasonal migration to the warmer weather of the south, allowing politicians to reach out to a chunk of the population that is not around in the winter.

However, not all villages believe making the move to November is the right way to go. Brocton remains one of the few villages that doesn’t anticipate moving their elections to November anytime soon.

“I believe you get more focus on the community,” said Karen Ardillo, Brocton village clerk. She said this also allows voters to get to know their candidates more on a one-on-one basis because those running for office don’t need to compete with everyone else running for other offices for attention.

The Board of Elections acts as chief election official in the village elections except for in Cassadaga and Sinclairville.

Mayville will also be holding elections March 18.

“Due to the new balloting, and there is not a real availability of municipalities to obtain some of this newer (voting) technology, we went with the county to actually have the elections,” said John Crandall, Mayville village clerk.

Village elections will be held March 18 in Bemus Point, Brocton, Cherry Creek, Forestville, Mayville, Panama, Sherman, Sinclairville and Westfield.

Elections in March include: Bemus Point – Richard Biondolillo and David Lipsey for village trustee; Brocton – Sheila Lawrence and Bryan Woleben for village trustee; Cherry Creek – Michael Seivert, Matthew West, George Hodges and Betty Milspaw for the two village trustee positions; Forestville – uncontested; Mayville – Richard Syper, Tim Jacobson and James Meyer are running for two open village trustee spots; Panama- uncontested; Sherman – William J. Wiggers is running uncontested for the one-year remaining term of a trustee vacancy; Issac J. Gratto and Mary A. Reyda are both running unopposed for two expiring trustee terms; and Westfield – David Brooker, Michael Catalano and Richard Raynor for the two village trustee positions.

Villages that have moved their elections to November are: Celoron, Falconer, Fredonia, Lakewood and Silver Creek.

Forestville will be hold a referendum on March 18 to authorize the village to hold its election in November. The referendum was on the ballot last March and was defeated by the voters. Mayville will be voting on March 18 to determine whether the village elections should be moved to November.

Uncontested mayoral elections are being held in Cherry Creek, Forestville and Mayville.