Says Debate Needed to Address City Issues and Increase Voter Turnout
Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for Syracuse City Auditor, today urged media and civic organizations to hold a City Auditor debate to be broadcast on TV and radio.
The other candidate is the incumbent Democrat, Marty Masterpole. No Republican is running.
Time Warner Cable News reported on Oct. 9 that Masterpole as well as Hawkins were willing to debate before the Nov. 3 election.
“The work of the City Auditor affects all the serious problems Syracuse faces, such as high poverty, failing infrastructure, and struggling schools. These issues and others are impacted by the limited fiscal resources of the city. Financial audits can help with the efficiency of city government and special audits can help assess the effectiveness of policies intended to address the problems and risks the city faces,” Hawkins said.
“All of us should be concerned that nonvoters are likely to win by a landslide unless more attention is brought to this year's city election. The office of City Auditor race is the first on the ballot for city offices this year. A City Auditor debate would help make the voters of Syracuse aware of their options -- and simply that there is a city election on Nov. 3,” Hawkins said.
Voter turnout in Syracuse has been chronically low and trending downward for years. Turnout for the last city election in 2013 was 24 percent, the lowest in at least 50 years. The 29% voter turnout for the 2014 state and federal election in New York State was the lowest since 1942.
Turnout for this year's Sept. 10 Democratic primary for the 128th District Assembly seat was only 11 percent. That district includes the east side of Syracuse, which traditionally has the highest voter turnout in the city. Turnout for the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary in the city was 18 percent 2013, down from 25 percent in 2009 and 38 percent in 2001.