On Election Day, voters choose what issues to prioritize.© 2021 Arjun Menon

City of Syracuse

Voters in Syracuse are Juggling Controversial Issues

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (DiA) — Despite this election year being less consequential than the last, voters in Central New York still have a lot to think about in order to contribute to democracy.

Cjala Surratt and her husband, Emad Rahim, came to the polls to help make change for their community. The mayoral election is the most important thing on the ballot, Surratt said, adding “I want to make sure that the person we put in leadership are thinking about those communities that generally have been disenfranchised, and making sure that they have a voice as well.”

Rahim’s biggest issue is equality, centered around budgets: “Is it allowing other people access to resources, to public education, to safety, and things like that,” Rahim said.

The pair also added they wished there was more information about propositions on the ballot itself, and Rahim especially emphasized the importance of voting, since he is a refugee to the United States from Cambodia, where a dictatorial regime existed.

While Surratt and Rahim focus on local issues, voters like Linda Abear are concerned with a wider issue affecting political discourse in America.

Abear brought her two granddaughters to the polls, and hoped that doing so instilled the power of voting into them. Abear said that the education of her grandchildren is her most important issue this election cycle, specifically taking aim at critical race theory: “I want it out of the schools. I don’t think it’s right. I think they’re trying to indoctrinate the next generation,” Abear said, adding that schools should “leave the ideology up to their parents.” 

Voters like Surratt, Rahim, and Abear show the polarization of American politics today, and how this year’s election could be crucial for Central New York’s politics as well.