Voting – A Primary Privilege in Chautauqua County

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Contributing Writers
Stephanie McCraw & Walt Pickut

Everybody loves a party, and in Chautauqua County it’s time once again for voters to pick their favorite one and vote. In the Tuesday, June 25 Primary Election, voters throughout the county will select the candidates who will represent their party in the November 5th General Election.

New York State holds closed primary elections. That means only voters registered in a party can vote for which of their party’s candidates they believe best represents what they want their party to stand for. The candidates selected in the primary election will compete for their offices for on General Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th, 2019.

Boosting Turnout

Citizens who take a stand and have their say about who serves them in government have the best chance to be served well. In the United States, and in every state, county, and town across the country, it is assumed that a government elected by the people is the best government for the people.

This year, every political party in Chautauqua County is asking voters to take their stand. Electing the best men and women to serve will require interested and educated voters to turn out and vote.

In recent years, only ten to fifteen percent of eligible, registered voters turned out for the primary elections. Citizens who did not vote, actually voted to be governed by the tiny minority who did take the time to vote.
This week’s Jamestown Gazette wants our readers to answer one simple question: “Why vote?” The best answer may be: “Because your life and happiness may depend on it. A great deal is at stake in 2019.”

Who Can Vote?

The Board of Elections for Chautauqua County has listed primaries for the Republican, Working Families, and Independence Parties. No primaries are scheduled for the Democratic, Conservative, and Green Parties. All poll sites in Chautauqua County will be open from noon to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Participation is Key

We asked some local citizens about their experience of voting in the primaries. One voter said she changed her status and joined a political party only after years of not being eligible to take part of this important step in the election.

She wanted to participate more in the election process. For readers interested in joining a party, the process must start before the general election if they want to be eligible for the next year’s primary.

In Chautauqua County, registered Republicans have some choices to make. According to Norman Greene, Commissioner of Elections, Republicans have town and city primary contests for Jamestown City Mayor and City Council Ward 2, and several other contests to vote in.

“Any Chautauqua County citizen at least age 18 at the date of the primary election who has previously registered and affiliated with the Republican Party, Working Families Party in Dunkirk, and Independence Party in Dunkirk, Arkwright or Carroll are eligible to vote.”

How to Vote Questions Answered

Voters registered with a party that is having a primary can go to their poll site and use signature verification to confirm their identity. For those interested in planning ahead of time, sample ballots are available at votechautauqua.com. For those with questions regarding their status, personal voter registration status can be looked up at the same website.

The county also sends out a yellow card confirming a voter’s registration affiliation and the location of their polling site. Greene says that there is an affidavit ballot available at the polls for people who contend their registration status. They can sign the affidavit and the county will investigate the matter to preserve that vote.

According to Greene through a media release about the election: “Voters who have not moved will vote at the same site as last year, the exception being that West Ellicott and Celoron voters will now vote at the Resource Center, rear entrance, 200 Dunham Ave., Celoron.”

Candidates on the Ballot

Sam Teresi is stepping down as Mayor of Jamestown, and the vacancy allowed two candidates to file petitions and enter a Republican primary.

One of the candidates vying for the public office is David Wilfong, current representative of District 11 and Chautauqua County Legislator. The other is Jamestown City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo. Liuzzo represents the Republican and Conservative party. Whoever wins in on June 25 will run against Democrat Eddie Sunquist in November.

Both mayoral candidates are lifelong residents of Jamestown. Wilfong was first elected to Chautauqua County Legislator in 2013 and is endorsed by the County Republican Committee. Liuzzo has been on city council since 2018. Brent Sheldon, Jamestown City Republican Chairman, told the Gazette that in his opinion “The mayoral primary is very important. We are looking for someone with the most experience, that works well with parties in Jamestown for the betterment of the city.”

Sheldon also noted the primary contest for 2nd Ward Councilman between Tony Dolce and Raven Thompson.

NYS 57th Senate District

On March 10th Catharine Young stepped down from her State Senate position, one she’s held since 2005, to take a job at Cornell University. The resulting vacancy in the 57th Senate District allowed for George Borrello of Irving, NY and Curtis W. Crandall of Belfast, NY to file petitions to the Board of Elections for candidacy, which in turn put them in the primaries on June 25th.
Borello was elected to his position as Chautauqua County Executive in 2017 and Crandall is Allegany County Legislature Chairman. Whoever wins this primary will run against Democrat Austin Morgan in November. Both Republican candidates have conservative leanings and want to follow in Young’s footsteps. Borello has the backing of the County Republican Party, while one of Crandall’s strengths is regional experience.

Learn More

Readers are encouraged to visit votechautauqua.com or call the Board of Elections at 753-4580.


Meet the Candidates

George Borello
R- 57th District Senate

George Borello

Senator Cathy Young leaves behind an amazing record of achievement. I am proud to have worked closely with her on many things that have made a real difference for Chautauqua County. In deciding who we will choose to continue that legacy of advocacy, we need someone with a strong track record of setting goals and achieving them. I am proud of what we have accomplished here in our county. We have set aside the politics in county government and we are focused on working together to do what is in the best interest of the people. That is something that is missing in Albany. The voice of the people is lost in the political rhetoric.

We are at the beginning of new, very dark times in Albany. It’s important that we have a representative who will push back against the radical New York City agenda. As your next state senator, I will make sure that our voice is heard loud and clear in the state capitol.


Curt Crandall
R – 57th District Senate

Curt Crandall

I am the most qualified candidate to be your next Senator. I have been a Legislator in Allegany County for 19 years (14 years as Chairman). We have reduced property taxes the last 9 years. I know the entire 57th Senate District, and I will fight for your interests in Albany. I would like to apply the leadership skills, experience, dedication, and commitment I have to representing the people of our area in Albany. I am running on the Republican line only with a deeply conservative position. I am running a grassroots campaign, and my only obligation as Senator will be to you. My opponent has received tens of thousands of dollars in help from Senator Flanagan (Safe Act supporter and Cathy Young opponent) through the New York Senate Republican Campaign Committee, Why? Vote for me, and send someone to Albany without downstate obligations.


Andrew Liuzzo
R – Jamestown City Mayor

Andrew Liuzzo

My name is Andrew R. Liuzzo and I serve Jamestown as a councilman at-large. Since taking office, my priorities have been accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency from the city government, and awareness, input and involvement from the residents of Jamestown.

Listening to the concerns of the citizens has been paramount to my service to our community. I strive to be accessible and respond quickly to questions and problems brought to my attention, as well as to include the public in their government’s processes. I was responsible for organizing, the first of its kind, “Ask Us” event, which gave city residents the opportunity to speak directly to elected State, County and local officials. Their questions and concerns were addressed one on one, the way government was intended to work. I plan to bring the same focus to the office of mayor if elected.


Dave Wilfong
R – Jamestown City Mayor

Dave Wilfong

Greetings: My name is Dave Wilfong and I am running to become the next Mayor of Jamestown. I’m a lifelong resident of Jamestown and a U.S. Army Veteran.

I think the people of Jamestown are ready for a change in leadership at City Hall. We can all agree what we‘ve been doing for the last 20 years is not working. I think it’s time to change the direction that Jamestown is going in. To do that, we need a leader with proven track record of getting things done and a common sense approach of government.
I’m that leader…

In 2014 I took office as a Chautauqua County Legislator, District 11, representing the City of Jamestown. My pledge to my constituents was simple: cut government spending, cut the size of government and lower property taxes.

I am proud to say that I have accomplished all of the goals. I made the hard decision to sell the County Nursing Home because it was losing thousands of dollars a day in operation and was financially broken. I have cut the number of people who actually work for county government. Most importantly, I have cut your property taxes for the last 5 ½ years in a row. I’m the only candidate running for the mayor’s office that can say I’ve done exactly what I said I was going to do. I plan on bringing my “Common Sense” approach of government to City Hall and bring real change to Jamestown.

I’m Dave Wilfong and I’m running for Mayor of the City of Jamestown


Tony Dolce
R – Jamestown City Council Ward 2

Tony Dolce

I have had the privilege of serving as City Councilman since 1994. I was elected as Councilman at-Large in 1993-95 and 1997-1999 and have represented Ward 2 in Jamestown’s historic north side since 1999. In my time on council, I have served on every standing committee including Public Safety, Department of Public Works, Housing, and am currently the chairman of the Finance Committee. In addition, I was unanimously elected to serve as the Council President in 2007. I have always worked in a bipartisan fashion with all members of the council to do what is best to help make Jamestown a great place to live and raise a family.

My goals for the next term are to continue to work collaboratively with all members of council on neighborhood concerns, housing, economic development, public safety initiatives and the financial budgetary challenges that face our city. I look forward to serving the residents of Ward 2 and the entire City of Jamestown for another term. This year Jamestown will elect a new Mayor for the first time in twenty years. Now more than ever, we need steady, experienced leadership from the council to help the new administration lead the city. I will continue to be a responsive and hard working leader for our city.


Raven Thompson
R – Jamestown City Council Ward 2

Raven Thompson

An area resident of Jamestown for over 23 years, I am a mother of five, completing my MS in Education, and working as a Teaching Assistant/Teacher Substitute. I have worked in both service and education sectors, and have served on boards, such as the YWCA. I am an active member of my church and of community services and programs within the surrounding Jamestown area. I have been a part of city council meetings, work sessions, and other government functions within our community at large.

Through these opportunities, I felt the frustration of community concerns and I have decided to make a greater investment for more positive impact, in the decision making process of our community. As Ward 2 Councilwoman, I will endeavor to be dedicated to transparency, neighborhood revitalization, sound fiscal policies, business development and economic growth, and municipal collaboration. I look forward to your vote in the June 25th Primary. Thank you.