The Vote

Sometimes people do not vote because they have been prevented or discouraged from doing so. In the conclusion of our series  The Vote, WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill looks at voter suppression.

The United States, where the right to vote is considered fundamental to our system of government, has a long history of voter suppression.  Laws, administrative procedures, and campaign dirty tricks have been used to try to influence the outcome of elections by means of voter suppression.

GOP-Democratic logos: DonkeyHotey/Flickr, 21st District Map: U.S. House

Long considered a Republican stronghold, in 2009, the dynamics of New York’s northernmost Congressional district shifted. In today’s installment of WAMC’s special series The Vote, North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley assesses the win by Democrat Bill Owens and the political winds affecting one of the largest districts in the East.

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As we approach election day, experts predict low turnout in of local races around the region — as usual. Why are voters staying home?
Low  voter turnout was apparent throughout New York during the September primaries. Some attribute it to "upstate dissatisfaction" with politics in general. Whether that's the root cause or not, New York ranks near the bottom of all 50 states when it comes to turnout, as tabulated by the United States Elections Project.  

Christopher Chen-Lumachrome/Flickr

University at Albany sophomore Jamie Zeno isn’t sure his absentee ballot was counted in last year’s presidential election. He’s from the Upstate New York County of Chenango, between Binghamton and Utica.

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When voters across the country went to their local polling places in November of 2012 to vote for president, residents of Saratoga Springs, New York also voted on a ballot measure to change the city’s charter to bring in a new system of government. Overall, turnout was pretty good – 75 percent of the small city’s registered voters went to the polls.

William Fruci, a Commissioner of Elections with Saratoga County said,  “it’s a presidential year – people are going to come out in droves to vote. You have people that participate only once every four years.”

WAMC/Allison Dunne

Voter turnout in off-year elections is generally much lower than in presidential election years, and turnout among young voters is no exception. Three politicians who have set records for being the youngest in one political office or another have ideas about where the problems lie. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne has part two in our special series The Vote.


There are few sure things in politics. But in recent years, you can bet on Democrats representing the westernmost part of Massachusetts.