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AFL-CIO cranks up casino GOTV effort

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The state’s largest union has turned on its potent political machine to get voters out for today’s statewide casino referendum.

Mario Cilento, the state AFL-CIO president, ordered his union into high gear to spread the word about its backing of Proposition One. In an off-year election, where turnout across most of the state will be low, the political operational support that unions are giving Proposition One could be a key component if the casino expansion plan wins tonight.

The work done by the AFL-CIO does not include other member-to-member outreach efforts by individual unions, such as those representing hotel workers and teachers, who are part of the umbrella labor organization.

The AFL-CIO, which represents 2.5 million public and private sector workers, has done the following:

• Sent 200,000 pieces of mail to a targeted group of unionized voters identified as swayable and likely to vote today;

• Sent another 500,000 mailings in local campaign races around the state that also mention the AFL-CIO’s support of Proposition One;

• Made 300,000 phone calls to union households urging a yes vote;

• Run door-to-door canvassing that, with its computerized phone banking operations, has reached a total of 500,000 union members;

• Handed out literature at worksites;

• Had people all day today at 300 “high volume’’ polling sites in voter-rich New York City, where pre-election polls show the casino plan winning a majority of residents' support.


Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |