Numbers for young voters worry Summit man


By Jim Poole

Wayne Stinson wants to get as many new voters as possible registered in time for New York's presidential primary.
And although the Summit resident hopes many of those new voters cast a ballot for Democrat Bernie Sanders, Mr. Stinson is most concerned about the low numbers of young voters.
"Fewer young people are registered, and typically, a smaller percentage turn out for primaries," said Mr. Stinson, who's active on such issues as the gas pipeline and paper ballots.
And he doesn't believe there's much time. New York's primary is on April 19; new voters must register by March 25 in order to participate.
According to the Schoharie County Board of Elections, there are about 4,830 people ages 18-30 in the county; of those, 2,355, or 49 percent, are registered to vote.
Without having figures from other counties it's difficult to tell whether Schoharie County's 49 percent is high or low, said Sara Davies-Griffin, deputy elections commissioner.
She and fellow deputy commissioner Rich Shultes believe the county's overall percentage of registered voters--about 68 percent of those eligible--is higher than in most counties.
But it's those younger non-registered folks Mr. Stinson is worried about.
"I've spoken to quite a few young people who don't even know there's a primary or don't know the rules," he said.
The Board of Elections isn't standing still. Its staff is working with schools to make sure high school seniors are aware of registration, and they're in touch with SUNY Cobleskill, also.
And because this is a presidential election year, the Board of Elections will hold two Saturday and two Wednesday evening special sessions for registration. Those dates are not set yet.
To register, people can download a form from the county website, pick up a form at a local post office or stop at the Board of Elections office in Schoharie.
Also, the Board will send a form if called, Mr. Shultes said.
People can't register online, he added, because the form must have a signature.
Aware of the Board of Elections' efforts, Mr. Stinson still believes more could be done before the March 25 deadline.
And he also freely admits he wants new voters for Mr. Sanders.
"But regardless of what I want, Republicans and Democrats should vote in the primary," Mr. Stinson said.
"It's a very important primary if voters are engaged."