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IN WILLIAMSVILLE, JUNE WILL BE BUSTING OUT WITH VOTERS

So much for coldhearted politicians.

While most villages are holding their elections next month, Williamsville has decided to wait awhile.

March, they decided, is just too cold a month to be out there ringing doorbells and politicking.

But June, the month of blushing brides, jubilant graduates and mild temperatures, is more appropriate, they figured.

"Several years ago, we decided we didn't want to freeze our butts off walking door to door in January or February," said Mayor Basil Piazza. "It's very difficult to have meaningful conversations with people in cold weather.

"Either people let you in, and you have to take off your jacket and then bundle back up again, or they let you say three words and then shut the door because it's too cold."

As a result, Williamsville voters will sit out the March election for the first time this year and instead cast their ballots on June 19.

The move to change the Williamsville election started more than five years ago, when politicians persuaded the voters to approve a referendum switching the date.

Voters, village officials said, also will benefit from the switch.

"We would hope it would encourage people to come out, because the weather will be so nice," Piazza said. "That (third) Tuesday in March is just nasty weather. It's usually cold and rainy, just a miserable day, and people don't like to come out in weather like that."

It has taken this long to make the change, because village officials are elected for four-year terms.

To accommodate the move, the trustees elected over the past four years were given an extra three months on their terms.

Now, with all terms set to expire in June instead of March, the village is able to hold June elections for the first time.

State law allows villages to hold their elections in either March or June. In Erie County, Williamsville will be the first to switch to June -- but not the first to move away from the traditional March date.

After village officials got a waiver from the State Legislature to have elections in a different month altogether, Kenmore voters three years ago passed a measure to change their local election to November, to coincide with county, state and federal elections. The Democrats in that village, traditionally a Republican stronghold, lobbied for the change.

They thought they would have a better chance of getting one of their own elected to the Village Board that way. And in 1999, voters did elect two Democrats to the board, for the first time in many years.

No other villages in Erie County seem to be interested in the switch, something that surprises Williamsville officials.

After all, as Hamburg Village Clerk-Treasurer David Fountaine notes, village elections ride on the personal connection that comes about the old-fashioned way -- regardless of the season.

"You're not going to win at the village level by just putting ads in the newspaper," Fountaine said. "If you're going to win in village elections, you really need to know your neighbors. You really need to go door-to-door."

Williamsville's mayor agrees. And that's exactly why he supported moving the elections in his village to June.

"I'm surprised more cold-weather villages aren't making the switch to June," Piazza said.

But some area politicians said those bitter cold days on the campaign trail are nothing to shy away from.

"When I was a trustee, we went door-to-door in wintertime," said Depew Village Clerk Joan Priebe. "Very honestly, it's healthy. It's good for you. I think I'd rather walk when it was cold than when it was steaming hot.

"But to each his own."

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