It’s 2012. Do you know who your assemblyman is?
Thanks to redistricting, a lot of voters may be confronted by some unfamiliar names when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
For example, residents of the town of Davenport, who for years have been represented in the state Senate by John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, may be surprised to find themselves asked to choose between Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Democratic challenger Howard Leib, on Election Day.
That’s because Seward’s Senate district has shifted to the south, gobbling up several Delaware County towns previously held by Bonacic. The old “stovepipe hat” shape of Seward’s district, which stretched way up north into the Adirondack park, has been replaced with a little tail that snakes down into Ulster County.
Much has already been said about the 101st Assembly District, which features both an incumbent (Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford) and a challenger (Democrat Dan Carter) who are relative unknowns to the local area. The narrow district cuts through seven counties and includes six towns in Delaware County and five in Otsego.
Depending on which of these towns you live in, you might have been expecting to vote for Marc Butler, Pete Lopez or Cliff Crouch. But, no, it’s Tenney vs. Carter for you.
Candidates and party and election officials have been working hard to get the word out about the new districts, but these things tend to take a while to sink in.
We urge all our readers who are registered voters to take this one last opportunity before the polls open Tuesday to get informed — not only about the new districts, but about the candidates and the issues at stake.
You can find a list of the candidates who will be on the ballot, and information about the new districts, in today’s Daily Star on Page 7. An interactive feature showing side-by-side maps of the old and new districts can be found at http://www.urbanresearchmaps.org/nyredistricting/map.html.
Take some time to read up on the candidates who are vying to represent your area. There is a wealth of information online, from the candidates’ own websites to stories written by this and other newspapers about the campaigns. For our subscribers who are and aren’t Web-savvy, The Daily Star has been featuring stories about the candidates for the past several days. And despite the famous maxim about not discussing politics or religion in polite company, you can probably strike up a lively conversation with friends, family members or colleagues about what’s at stake in this year’s election.
It’s always important to be informed before you vote. But in a redistricting year, that sometimes takes a little extra initiative. We encourage everyone to make that extra effort before casting a ballot on Tuesday.