Saratoga Bd of Elections disenfranchised Ballston Spa (NY) on June 26


Unbelievable! YNN News in Albany filed this report:

“During the Congressional primary election in June, roughly 300 Republicans in the village of Ballston Spa in Saratoga County should have had a chance to vote in the primary race between Matt Doheny and Kellie Greene. But, the race didn’t appear on the ballot they received. In the rush to prepare, elections officials in Saratoga County admit that they made a mistake and left out a whole neighborhood.

For practical purposes, this mistake didn’t impact the outcome. Even if all of the Republicans eligible to vote had backed Kellie Greene she still would have lost by more than 5000 votes. But it is startling that the dysfunction surrounding redistricting forced a truncated timetable onto elections officials (the maps were finalized on March 19th leaving elections officials just 99 days before the election) and ultimately stripped hundreds of people from their rights as citizens.” [Emphasis added]

Upstate YNN called it a “cautionary tale” for when the Legislature redistricts in 2022. The problem is federal courts have had a hand in the last three Congressional reapportionment plans, including this one. This year, unlike the previous two times when the courts’ proposed plans forced the Legislature to act, the federal court’s special master didn’t provide the detailed metes and bounds that a redistricting bill would have provided.

In 2002, I supervised the Bronx BOE implementation of that year’s redrawn districts. I recall that among the anomalies in the Legislature’s metes and bounds were uninhabited election districts and a traffic island that wasn’t in any district. But unlike Ballston Spa, every residential neighborhood was enfranchised.

I don’t understand why the residents of Ballston Spa didn’t make a big stink about being disenfranchised when NYC congressional candidates, council members and the media took the City BOE to task simply for an incomplete/inaccurate election night tally in NY-13. And as it turned out, no eligible voters were disenfranchised in the process. And like, NY-21, the outcome was unaffected.

An entire village is disenfranchised because a clerical error stemming from gross incompetence in the digital age. Saratoga BOE commissioner Roger Schiera said the court’s maps don’t have the same level of detail the BOE are used to seeing.

“Whenever there is redistricting, it’s very difficult, especially when these new lines are drawn, we have to do street level details and parse these things out. You know, these houses are on one side, these are on another, the district line runs right through. That really happens,” said Roger Schiera.

And it only comes to light because someone corrected Rep. Doheny for omitting Ballston Spa. The Saratoga County BOE is downright incompetent and all it rates is YNN’s tut-tut as a “cautionary tale.” I think the city BOE is owed an apology for being taken to the woodshed for what amounted to mere clerical errors beyond their immediate control on Primary Night June 26.

While I’m glad our local stink finally forced the NYC BOE to revamp it’s election night results reporting procedure, the Ballston Spa screw-up makes the city BOE look downright on top of it’s game.

Are you outraged?

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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