Today is election day. New York representatives from both parties are hoping to secure votes based on core issues including abortion, crime, economic uncertainty, and threats to democracy. Polls are open today from 6 am to 9 pm across the state. There are tightly competitive races in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Congressional districts as well as the state-wide gubernatorial race. In addition to the congressional, senate, and gubernatorial races, New York voters will find Proposition 1 on the back of their ballots which would approve funds for the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. Ithacans will also vote on whether to create a City Manager position. WRFI will be broadcasting Democracy Now’s live election coverage tonight starting at 9 pm.
The Times Union reports that 1.2 million votes have already been cast in New York’s gubernatorial election during the early in-person voting period, which concluded on Sunday. In addition, more than 300,000 absentee ballots have been returned by voters, while more than 225,000 remain outstanding around the state. Use of early voting has grown in popularity since it was enacted in 2019 and many voters are taking advantage of the provision allowing use of absentee voting for those looking to limit their exposure to Covid-19. A conservative challenge to that rule was struck down last week. This year marks the first time that early in-person voting has been used in a midterm election. About 12 percent of active enrolled voters have already cast their ballots.
Lawmakers have publicly vowed to pursue reforms concerning the use of excess restraint practices used in schools across New York State. The announcements emerged after Hearst Newspapers published school records showing how some students—many with physical or mental disabilities—have been held in restraints or time-out rooms for hours at a time. According to the Times Union, New York State Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer implored that the legislature respond to the reports “in a thoughtful and serious way.” She said she would be open to laws that require schools to report such incidents to the state, as many other states do. Other reforms proposed include hiring more mental health staff, increased use of de-escalation tactics, and improved teacher training.
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