An Independence Party primary took place Tuesday for a Cayuga County Legislature seat representing the town of Brutus. Nineteen people voted in that election. Eleven of them wrote in the name of incumbent Grant Kyle while eight filled in the circle for the only name on the ballot, Chris Petrus.
With so few votes to count, it would seem logical that results for this race would be posted by the Cayuga County Board of Elections to its website not long after polls closed at 9 p.m.
But two hours later, with elections boards in counties all around Cayuga having posted complete numbers, we still had not seen any updates on any of the local primaries. Finally, around 11:10 p.m., a batch of results was posted, although in the Brutus race, Kyle's write-in votes were not mentioned in the first update. About 20 minutes later, we finally had a full picture.
I'm writing this to tell readers who visit our website looking for numbers after polls close why it took so long to get anything about Cayuga County. I'm sure it was frustrating for many to keep hitting the refresh button on their browsers, only to see the same blank spaces for Cayuga County races more than an hour after full numbers for neighboring Onondaga County races were posted.
At about 10:40 p.m., a reporter called the Cayuga County board to see if results would be coming soon. They said they hoped so, but were still waiting for some trucks to arrive.
One issue, as I see it, is that while other counties are willing and able to post numbers as they are reported from the precincts, Cayuga County appears to wait until every polling place's figures are compiled. As a result, one slow polling place can keep an entire county waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting.
As we look ahead to the general election in a couple of months, with about 110 races to report on election night compared with about 12 on primary night, we hope there's some planning going on to make the system for releasing results to the public more efficient.
If you're a print reader, flip to today's page A7 to see the latest installment in a special series of articles we're publishing this month and into October with helpful personal finance information.
The series is dubbed Smart Change, and it's running every Thursday and Sunday in The Citizen. There's also an online component with more articles posted at auburnpub.com/smartchange.
These stories cover a wide range of issues related to how we earn, save, spend and invest our money. Learn about strategies for managing retirement and college savings account, handling debt and credit, educating children on finances, buying homes and cars, shopping for insurance and many more issues. There's also content tied into current events, such as what consumers should know about the recent Equifax data breach.
Cayuga County's two big agricultural showcases are once again joining forces. We think it's the right move to make, but the county Legislature is going to have to take a closer look at the merger before deciding how much taxpayer funds are going to be required to make it happen.
Going back to the 1930s, there was one major showcase of animals, produce, recipes and art celebrating the agricultural roots of the county. But a split in the past decade led to a separation, with the Cayuga County Fair being held at the fairgrounds in Weedsport, and the Remember the Big 6 Picnic and 4-H Youth Country Fair taking place in Owasco.
Now, organizers have worked out a plan to again join forces, with a 2018 show planned for July 26-28 at Emerson Park and the Ward O'Hara Agricultural & Country Living Museum and Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr. Educational Center in Owasco.
Fair organizers said that the county had given each entity $7,500 in the past, and asked the Legislature for $27,750 to help cover the shared costs of a combined fair. No promises have been made at this point, and the county will have to analyze the need for an increase before coming up with a budget amount by the end of the year.
We support the idea of a combined fair. The organizations complement each other so well that it just makes sense to put on one large event — especially if that will open up more opportunities for the children involved. At the same time, it seems reasonable that a consolidation would save money rather than increase expenses, so we're not sure how much money the fair really needs to become a success.
If it turns out that there are extraordinary costs associated with the merger — and the Legislature agrees that a bigger budget is a necessity — the county needs to be clear that more money this time around will be a one-time boost to help get things off the ground.
With a fair amount of compromise, we believe that the county fair, the Big 6 and the county Legislature will work things out to make the new county fair the best it can be.
The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.