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Emergency motion filed over Vassar College polling site

Nov 07, 2022 1:00 am

Melissa Manno reports for the Times Union that an emergency motion has been filed seeking clarification of the November 3, Dutchess County Supreme Court ruling ordering the county Board of Elections to establish a polling site at Vassar College in accordance with state law. The League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region, a Vassar College student and a professor filed the motion over the weekend against the county Board of Elections, Republican Commissioner Erik J. Haight and Democratic Commissioner Hannah Black. State Supreme Court Justice Christie L. D’Alessio ordered the Board of Elections to comply with a new state law that requires any college with 300 or more registered voters to have a polling place on or near campus. The petition demonstrated the college has more than 1,000 registered voters and accused the county Board of Elections and Republican Commissioner Haight of violating state law by denying Vassar students an accessible polling place. Emails provided in the new case files, however, indicate that D'Alessio's ruling may have been interpreted differently by Haight and his Democratic counterpart, Black. In the emails, rather than adding another polling site specifically for students without means of transportation, Haight seemed to interpret the ruling as designating the Vassar voting site as a replacement for other sites in all three districts. That contradicts what Black said earlier on Nov. 4 — that the county intended to keep open existing poll sites for those election districts. “This will be an additional polling place,” she said. Haight said on Nov. 5 that he had agreed to comply with the order and was waiting for Black to respond to a message he sent regarding what needs to be done to prepare the space “she prefers” on the Vassar campus. It is unclear whether Vassar College is moving forward with establishing a polling site on campus until the ruling is clarified, but a representative of the college said in an affidavit that accompanied the suit that the college had already reserved the space, was ready to establish the polling site and had already prepared an email to publicize the location. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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