WGXC-90.7 FM

Bard College back in court over campus voting location

Jul 22, 2021 5:30 am

The Mid-Hudson News Network is reporting the Dutchess County Board of Elections is being sued by Bard College, its president Leon Botstein, and several other petitioners, to have its Bertelsmann Campus Center designated as a polling location for Red Hook District 5. Similar action in 2020 resulted in state Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa allowing two polling places in the district — at the Annandale-on-Hudson campus and at the nearby Church of St. John the Evangelist — as a one-time compromise. Bard has been trying since 2005 to have a permanent polling place located on its campus. Each year, though, the college has been denied, which their attorneys say “defies fact, logic and, most importantly, the law.” Former Dutchess County Democratic Elections Commissioner Beth Soto, and other say the polling place should be moved to Bard. The Red Hook Town Board also support having the polls at Bard, but unless county Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight and Democratic Elections Commissioner, Hannah Black, agree, the voting location cannot be moved unless a judge orders it. A postcard mailed to voters by the Board of Elections in April was “confusing,” according to court papers. While it cited the church as the official District 5 polling place it also said, "You may continue to vote at the accessible polling place on this card.” Attorneys argue that because the church is not accessible under the terms of the American Disabilities Act, the postcard is misleading. For that reason, the lawyers are asking the state Supreme Court to designate Bard as the polling place for District 5. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.