For Tim Dunn, neither Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul nor her Republican opponent, Lee Zeldin, offer much for independent voters like him.
"I think they’re just disgusted with the choices," Dunn said. "I mean, I look at Election Day in two weeks and say, gosh, how do I pull the trigger for any one of these candidates?"
Dunn is the executive director of Unite New York, an advocacy group for voters who are not enrolled as Democrats or Republicans. As both major party candidates sound off on issues like crime, the economy and abortion, there’s little that appeals for voters in the political center.
"Most voters live in the middle – the political middle," he said. "And neither of these voters can claim to be a moderate."
Voters who are not registered in either party could play a major role in deciding the next governor of New York, an otherwise heavily Democratic state.
And yet, voters who are not registered in a political party are on the rise in New York. They now outnumber Republican voters and are growing faster than Democratic enrollment.
Polarization in politics nationally and in New York has led voters in both major parties to harden their support for their candidates. That could put independents up for grabs in a statewide race that has potentially become more competitive in recent weeks.
Polling has shown Zeldin leading Hochul among these voters, but Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg said it may not be enough to win statewide.
"In order for a Republican to win, they’ve got to do better with independents than just getting 49% support," he said. "They’ve got to win independent voters significantly."
Unite New York this year has conducted voter surveys, finding independents want to discuss issues like election reform, including term limits and allowing people not registered in a party to vote in primaries.
"But independent voters have said left and right we want reform in the system," Dunn said.
Dunn believes it’s not a surprise that some voters may simply tune out the election noise.
"They’re frustrated," he said. "The top issues we see in this election are the same issues we’ve seen in the last four or five gubernatorial elections and nothing changes."