Plattsburgh, NY — Early voting in New York is underway for the August 23 primary, with two Democrats vying to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in the 21st Congressional District.

Democrats Matt Castelli and Matt Putorti are battling for the right to take on Stefanik, who is running unopposed and is seeking a fifth term. Several voters casting Democratic ballots on Monday shared what is drawing them to the polls.

One concern for voters is the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

“I am concerned about the economy like everybody else, but then I have other issues that I’m very concerned about like a woman’s right to choose,” said voter Linda Noyes. “That is very important to me.”

David Fessette, who is voting in the Democratic primary, said he wants someone who will protect a woman’s right to choose and her privacy.

“Under Roe v. Wade decision, in order for someone to know what medical procedures a woman has had, or anyone has had, you have to be looking at her medical records, and that’s supposed to be private,” he said.

Fessette said choosing which candidate to vote for was an easy one. “The candidate I chose has spent more time meeting with the people and listening to the people than the other one has. If somebody comes and listens to what I have to say or lets me know what his intentions are, then it’s easier to vote for him.” 

Noyse says she is looking for the candidate that has the best chance of winning in November.

“People need to get out and vote, I think this election is going to be crucial to see which way our country goes, if we want to be a democracy, we really need to step up and vote and it’s terrible when there’s only a small percentage of people that even bother.”

As of this weekend, 33,000 early vote ballots were cast in New York, 108 in Clinton County, 39 in Essex County, and 25 in Franklin. Early voting runs through Sunday. 

This past week, Matt Castelli received the endorsement of the New York State United Teachers Union. It is the third straight year the union has endorsed the Democratic candidate. In 2016, it endorsed Stefanik.

Meanwhile, Stefanik will be in Plattsburgh on Tuesday for the unveiling of a scholarship at Clinton County Community College.