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Bard College sues to move Red Hook polling location on campus

Sep 09, 2020 6:00 am
Saba Ali is reporting for the Poughkeepsie Journal Bard College has taken legal action against the Dutchess County Board of Elections to move a Red Hook District 5 polling location onto the school campus. Bard is arguing its current location does not meet legal standards and is dangerous. The petition was filed in the county Supreme Court on September 4, by Bard President Leon Botstein, campus officials, students and The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a social justice organization, against the board, as well as commissioners Erik Haight and Elizabeth Soto. The petition claims the current polling site at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist is not accessible by public transportation and is in violation of the American With Disabilities Act. Students have been campaigning to have the polling location moved for several years, but, according to Ava Mazzye, a 2020 graduate, a number of the meetings with the Board of Elections were met with "...hesitancy or lack of clarity in terms of what the actual rules are in terms of how to change a polling place." The Andrew Goodman Foundation claims the members of the college community make up nearly 70 percent of eligible voters in District 5. Soto, the Democratic elections commissioner, supports the Bard petition. "Please note that I am in full agreement that the Red Hook District 5 poll site should be moved from its current location at the St. John's Episcopal Church in Barrytown to a suitable on-campus location at Bard College," Soto wrote. When asked September 6, Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight declined to comment, saying he had yet to be served with the papers. Read the full story in the Poughkeepsie Journal.