Friday, June 30, 2017

NY State Election Board Told Nassau to Follow the Law

The New York State Board of Elections (NYBOE) reached out to the Nassau Elections Board Thursday to tell it to follow the Law.

The Nassau Board, with a Budget of more than $19 million and upward of 150 Employees to Maintain Voter Registration Information and Manage Elections, has not been Compiling a Canvass of Primary Election Returns as Required by State Law.

Newsday requested the Committee Member Lists for the Republican, Democratic, and Independence Parties after Uniondale Community Activist Terenna Williams, a Democrat who formerly worked at the Board, complained to a Reporter that the Nassau Board had Refused her Request for a List of Democratic Committee Members. That Canvass should include the Names of all Political Party Committee Members, who are considered Elected Officials even though the vast Majority Run Unopposed.

The Nassau Board acknowledged in a Letter to Newsday earlier this month that “Uncontested party positions have not been included in the Board’s canvass of election returns for many years.” State Law says that after a Primary Election, “there shall be included in the official compilation of the canvass of returns, the names of persons who shall have been nominated for public office or elected to a party position without balloting.”

Parties are Entitled to have Two Committee Members for each of Nassau’s approximately 1,100 Election Districts.
When Newsday asked the NYBOE about the Issue, spokesman John Conklin said in an Email, “Local boards are not allowed to ignore state law. Once we are alerted to something we will follow-up through the Elections Operations Unit to resolve the issue.” In an interview Thursday, Conklin said, “If they’re not following the law, we tell them to follow the law . . . prospectively.” He said each Local Board pays its own Lawyers for Legal Advice. “For the most part, if they’re not following the law, we tell them to follow the law and they do it,” he said.

Williams said people from her Community wanted to Run for Committee Member Posts, but didn’t know which Seats were vacant and which were Filled. Her community, she said, wants a Greater say in Democratic Party Decisions.
“I feel very frustrated,” Williams said Thursday. “I feel disenfranchised. I feel the parties do not want transparency in our community. . . . I was trying to get these committee people seats filled. We did not want to remove people already sitting. We wanted to inject.”

The Nassau Board of Elections has agreed to abide by State Law and include the Names of Political Party Committee Members in its future Election Reports. Democratic Elections Commissioner David Gugerty in an email to Newsday said Friday, “Going forward, uncontested party positions will be included in the Board’s canvass.” He said he also was responding on behalf Republican Commissioner Louis Savinetti.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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