Foss: Primary day is dull — but vote anyway – New York News

It’s going to be a quiet primary day — and that’s probably how the powers-that-be like it. 


Low voter turnout is a problem that vexes political scientists and other observers, such as myself, who believe better turnout would lead to better outcomes. 

But I doubt it’s a major concern for the Capital Region political establishment, whose hand-picked candidates rarely have to worry about fending off an aggressive challenge or defending their time in office. 

In many communities, an election victory is similar to a coronation, and the winner can serve for as long as he or she likes, secure in the knowledge that opponents will be few and far between. 

When that’s the case — and it’s often the case — it isn’t too difficult to understand why voters might stay home, rather than drag themselves to the polls to participate in a process where the result is all but guaranteed. 

Of course, staying home only exacerbates the situation we’re in now, where the vast majority of incumbents cruise to victory even as the electorate grows more and more disdainful of politics and politicians. 

The solution is more engagement, not less — but more engagement has proven to be a tough sell, largely because most races are boring and predictable. 

On those rare occasions when they’re not, such as the three-way Democratic primary for mayor of Albany, you see more attention to the issues, more debates and more campaigning. In a half-hour span on Sunday night, I saw three TV advertisements touting Kathy Sheehan for mayor of Albany. 

Compare that environment to the one in Schenectady, where the real election drama…

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