BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Outside of the Buffalo mayoral race, New York state Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy is anticipating voter apathy this year.
But he believes New Yorkers should be taking an interest in the state propositions up for vote.
"Ladies and gentleman, the back of this ballot, this is a national election. This is of the utmost importance because they're changing the way our elections are going to function," Langworthy said Thursday in front of the Erie County Board of Elections.
Specifically, the state Republicans and conservatives are urging people to oppose Propositions 1, 3 and 4. Proposition 1 repeals and amends parts of a 2014 state constitutional amendment that created a redistricting commission.
Supporters said it's a good government bill that discourages things like gerrymandering, but Langworthy believes it's an effort to limit the commission's power and independence.
"Democrats in Albany apparently aren't satisfied with the power they have," Langworthy said. "They want to knee-cap this commission in the middle of its work."
Propositions 3 and 4 have to do with allowing same-day voter registration and permanently expanding absentee ballots to any voter regardless of excuse. Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar believes both may encourage voter fraud and in the case of absentees, what's known as ballot-harvesting or ballot-stuffing.
"That should be of a great concern to the electoral franchise so we do not believe the boards of elections have shown themselves to be able to handle this type of voting at mass volume," Kassar said.
Although neither state party chair can vote in the aforementioned Buffalo mayoral election, both are watching with great interest. They both indicated they prefer incumbent Mayor Byron Brown to Democratic nominee India Walton.
"I'm opposed to socialism at all levels and socialism here in the city of Buffalo, it would be a national embarrassment and I think it would be devastating to the city," Langworthy said.
Kassar called it the "biggest socialist proxy election in the entire United States."
"The city of Buffalo is a historically famous city. To have a blue-collar, manufacturing, Erie Canal city, famous everywhere, in the event this city was to elect a socialist mayor, it would have a ripple effect for sure around this nation," he said.
Walton identifies as a Democratic socialist.