There will probably be no debates in the Ithaca special Mayoral election. The development follows two failed efforts to schedule a debate between the candidates, Democratic incumbent Acting Mayor Laura Lewis, Republican challenger Zachary Winn, and independent Katie Sims. According to the Ithaca Voice, This included a proposed three person debate hosted by the Ithaca Voice and WRFI, as well as another debate between Sims and Lewis, hosted by the Tompkins County Progressives. Acting Mayor Lewis—who is favored to win—declined to participate in both debates. When declining the Ithaca Voice / WRFI forum she cited Ithaca’s upcoming budget season, and argued that debates should only “be sponsored by a neutral non-partisan organization.” As nonprofits, the Ithaca Voice and WRFI are required by the IRS to be non-partisan.
The Times Union reports that the New York state Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the state’s absentee ballot laws are partially unconstitutional. About two weeks ago, Republican lawmakers filed a legal challenge to new election laws allowing absentee voting for people who fear contracting Covid at the polls. In their argument, the Republicans cited disproven claims of potential tampering or voter fraud. State Supreme Court Justice Dianne L. Freestone’s decision did not go as far as to overturn the law. However she did strike down the “canvassing” of absentee ballots and instructed the board of elections to “preserve” absentee ballots to be counted after Election Day, or until a final court decision is made. Democratic officials filed an appeal immediately, and the state Court of Appeals will likely make a final decision before November 8th.
The Ithaca Times reports that Opera Ithaca launched its 2022 season on Saturday, opening with the Opera Ithaca Festival. The festival is slated to run from October 22nd to November 6th, and marks the first in-person season since the beginning of the pandemic. The festival will include two operas, a pop-up concert series, and a recital. Passes and individual ticket options can be found at Opera Ithaca’s website.
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