Election official denied Vassar students poll site, petition alleges

Election official denied Vassar students poll site, petition alleges

ALBANY – The Dutchess County Board of Elections and its Republican commissioner are accused of violating a brand new state legislation by denying students at Poughkeepsie’s Vassar College a campus poll, in keeping with a petition filed this week in state Supreme Court. .

The petition filed days earlier than Election Day cites adjustments to state election legislation handed earlier this 12 months that require any faculty with 300 or extra registered voters to have a polling place on or close to campus.

Vassar has greater than 1,000 registered voters, in keeping with the petition, which was filed on behalf of a Vassar professor, a pupil and the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region. In addition to the county Board of Elections, the petition additionally targets GOP Elections Commissioner Erik J. Haight.

A listening to is scheduled for Thursday in state Superior Court in Dutchess County.

State legislation requires campuses to designate an on-campus voting web site by Aug. 1, although the petition alleged that Haight has thwarted any efforts by the school to formally designate a campus web site, successfully ignoring communication from Vassar.

The county’s Democratic Commissioner of Elections, Hannah Black, was open to the concept, in keeping with the criticism.

Without on-campus voting, students with out transportation could be required to stroll an hour to succeed in the closest early voting location, the petition states. Public transport isn’t simply accessible. The campus is split into three separate polling areas, additional complicating the method.

“The petitioners are merely some of the Vassar College voters who risk irreparable harm in the form of disenfranchisement if they are unable to access a suitable polling place for Election Day voting,” the petition states. “Courts routinely find that deprivation of a right constitutes irreparable harm.”

An earlier letter to County Executive Marc Molinaro described the back-and-forth between Vassar, Haight and different county elections officers to resolve the problem asking Haight to reply by Oct. 29.

That letter, filed by a coalition of students and nonprofit organizations, criticized Haight for his “total lack of effort to facilitate the rights and participation of Vassar voters, along with his well-documented and ongoing efforts to suppressed the youth vote. in Dutchess County.”

When Haight did not reply, the petition says, the plaintiffs took the case to courtroom.

Haight has been concerned in earlier courtroom battles centered on campus polls at Bard College, additionally within the county.

College campuses within the Capital Region have designated campus polling areas, together with the University at Albany.

The new model of the legislation, handed earlier this 12 months by means of the price range course of, was championed by voting rights advocates and good authorities teams.

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