Early voting starts; group compiles ratings of candidates

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Early voting has begun in New York state, with three polling sites open this weekend through next weekend in Oneida County. This is the second general election with early voting, and the first for state legislative, Congressional and presidential offices.
 
The locations are:
 
• South Rome Senior Center, 112 Ridge St.
• New Hartford Town Hall, in the former Gander Mountain store at The Orchards, 8635 Clinton St.
• Mohawk Valley Community College Jorgensen Center, 1102 Sherman Drive, Utica
 
Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Sunday at all sites; then on Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at all sites; on Tuesday, 10 to 6 p.m. at South Rome and MVCC and until 8 p.m. in New Hartford; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 at all sites; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at South Rome and MVCC and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in New Hartford; Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at all sites and on Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at all sites.
 
All locations are accessible to voters with physical disabilities.
 
Drop boxes for absentee ballots will also be at each early-voting site.
 
Sample ballots for all parts of Oneida County are on the website of the Oneida County Board of Elections, at www.ocgovboe.net.
 
Project VoteSmart compiles ratings
 
Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan volunteer-run voter-education organization, has compiledbiographical information, votes, positions and ratings by interest groups of candidates for most major offices at the federal and state level.
 
Voters may enter a candidate’s name and find a compilation of how many major groups have rated him or her. Many candidates also provide position statements, though many do not. Endorsements are also listed.
 
Project Vote Smart advises voters that many of the organizations are partisan, and some do not necessarily track each candidate, particularly those who have not held office before.
 
Among groups that rate candidates is the National Rifle Association, and John Zielinski, Republican candidate for the 119th New York Assembly seat, has an A, or top, rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.
 
The NRA-PVF noted that Zielinski’s rating is based on a questionnaire, not voting record.
 
His Democratic opponent, first-term incumbent Marianne Buttenschon, has a “D” rating from the group.
 
Endorsements coming in
Interest groups continue to issue endorsements for candidates for state and federal office. Among them this past week:
 
Police groups for Tenney: Thirteen local police associations and the statewide Police Conference of New York, with over 200 local police associations across the state, endorsed Claudia Tenney for Congress in New York’s 22nd District.
 
The Police Conference represents over 25,000 members across New York including 13 local member organizations in the 22nd District as well as seven regional organizations and the Retired Police Officers Association of New York.
 
The Police Conference of New York and its NY22 affiliates are in Rome, Utica, Vernon, Binghamton, Endicott, Frankfort, Dolgeville, Illion, Little Falls and Mohawk, and the statewide groups Retired Police Officers Association of New York and the Police Conference of New York.
 
Veterans for Brindisi: Veterans For Brindisi, a coalition of Veterans across NY-22, endorsed incumbent first-term Democrat Anthony Brindisi of Utica for re-election to Congress. The announcement said Brindisi’s first bill signed into law by President Trump helped to make sure the VA has the resources it needs to help prevent Veteran suicide. Also, he passed legislation providing service members with a mental health assessment every six months, and fought toprotect the Bainbridge VA clinic from closure and is working to expand VA mental health services for National Guard members and Reservists.
 
Trade unions for Rodgers in state Senate: Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 81, Teamsters Local 317, IBEW Local 43, Laborer’s Local 633, and Central-Northern New York Builders and Construction Trades Council endorse Sam Rodgers, candidate for New York’s 53rd State Senate District. Rodgers is on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and SAM party lines. He faces first-term incumbent Democrat Rachel May, also on the Working Families party line.
 
Government employees back Buttenschon: New York’s largest union of essential workers has endorsed Marianne Buttenschon, D-119th Dist. of Marcy, for re-election to the State Assembly.
 
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees represents 400,000 members from every city, county, town, village and school district in New York.
 
In endorsing Buttenschon, Brian McDonnell, AFSCME Political and Legislative Director, stated:
“We appreciate Buttenschon’s advocacy for funding assistance for state and local governments. Our members are essential employees who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. These workers are everyday heroes.”

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