If you’re not registered to vote, than mayoral candidate James 'Jim' Szwedo would like you to join him Thursday, May 28, and Friday, May 29, between 4 and 7 p.m., when the Friends of James Szwedo for Mayor committee will hold its first in a series of Voter Registration Nights at campaign headquarters, located at 2512 Niagara Street.
“We intend to help non-registered voters take the first step in becoming part of moving our city forward” said Szwedo.
New York State Voters Registration Forms will be available on site.
In the past two mayoral elections, both in the primary and general election, it has been convincingly shown that a majority of registered voters who turn out at the polls will vote for incumbent Mayor Paul Dyster.
By registering those who aren’t registered but eligible to vote, Szwedo hopes to change the outcome in November.
“It is our hope that these evenings will begin a long and lasting partnership with the people,” Szwedo said.
Four years ago, John Accardo ran a robust campaign against incumbent Mayor Dyster in the Democratic primary. He made all the stops. He talked to hoards of people who professed how dissatisfied they were with the city and its government.
If half the people who said they would vote for change had done so, Accardo would have won by a landslide.
A shockingly low turnout however saw only 3,600 voters come to the polls on primary day, 2011. 2,400 voters cast their ballots for Dyster and 1200 for Accardo.
Despite there being more than 10,000 registered Democrats in the city.
But most stayed home and waited for the next candidate to come to their door so they could complain about how bad city government is.
At Szwedo campaign headquarters, committee members will be on hand to assist potential voters in the registration process and listen to concerns and ideas from guests who visit.
“We hope this effort will restore people’s confidence. Voting is just another way of saying, 'you matter.' And, when we work together, it has a life of its own. 'It turns a coin into fire' ”, Szwedo said.
Szwedo will be facing former city councilman, and Pine Ave. businessman John Accardo for the Republican nomination in the September primary.
In seeking a third term, Dyster is hoping to emulate E. Dent Lackey, who served as mayor here from 1963 to 1975 and is generally regarded as the most “transformative” mayor in the city’s history.
On the Democratic side, Councilman Glenn Choolokian will take on Dyster.
The odds makers on Pine Avenue aren’t giving Choolokian, Accardo or Szwedo much of a chance, consigning all three contenders to longshot status and making Dyster the odds on favorite to win the race.
Because, if the past two elections are any indication, the people of Niagara Falls are quite content living in the most dangerous city in New York, the most heavily taxed by property value municipality in the country and a place where more interest is paid to the habitat of penguins than that of city residents. They thrive in a city where garbage is piled on vacant lots and alleyways, where more than 700 buildings sit abandoned and crumbling.
And like the battered woman who keeps returning to her abuser, they continue to reelect Dyster, the man who continues to make it all possible.
For those unable to attend the registration evenings, Szwedo headquarters are open Monday through Saturday 10:00am to 4:00 pm and registration forums are open to all citizens and candidates in the city. Coffee and donuts will be served.