Albany Ward II voters determine today who will be their city commissioner

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL: Indications are that a small number of Ward II voters will determine the election

Voters in Albany’s Ward II have some unfinished business to take care of today. It’s business that will directly affect them for the next four years.

After neither candidate was able to claim a simple majority of the votes cast in a three-candidate race for the Ward II seat on the Albany City Commission on Nov. 5, Commissioner Ivey Hines and challenger Bobby Coleman will meet one more time today. The winner will earn a four-year term of office on the commission.

Hines and Coleman have done what they can to drum up support for the election, but it may have gotten lost in the holiday rush.

It’s likely that only a small percentage of the ward’s voters will be making the decision for the entire district, especially if history and early voting are any indication. While Ward II has more than 5,500 eligible voters, only 642 — 11.6 percent — went to the polls in the general election. Generally, a one-contest runoff will attract fewer voters than a general election and there are fewer early voters (26) and mailed absentee ballots (71) for today’s election than there were early/absentee votes cast in the first election (116).

Ward II could see a turnout percentage in the single digits, which means the winning candidate could be elected by 5 or 6 percent of the eligible voters, maybe fewer.

While presidential, gubernatorial and congressional elections garner more attention and motivate more people to go to the polls, few things impact the residents of a city as much as their representation on the city’s commission or council. Every decision made by the Albany City Commission has a direct effect on the city’s population. Having a say in who is watching out for your neighborhood’s interests is an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.

These precincts will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. today for Ward II voters:

— Palmyra Road Methodist Church (Precinct 1);

— Sherwood Elementary School (Precinct 2);

— Phoebe Education Building (Precinct 15);

— Jackson Heights Elementary (Precinct 17);

— Albany Middle School (Precinct 24).

One of the greatest gifts our forefathers gave us was the ability to help determine who will govern us. It is a privilege that few others in the world share, and for us it is a right. We hope that you, if your are an eligible voter in Ward II, will exercise yours today.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board