November 21, 2009

New Video Of Local Election Controversy

The Daily Freeman just posted this video of a Bard student being challenged at the polls when trying to vote in the local elections a few weeks ago. According to the DF, the video shows "a dispute between elections officials and one student who wanted to cast his ballot on the District 5 machine, rather than by affidavit. The voter claims to be challenging on the basis of residency, but without providing a reason."

Here is the dialogue between the poll worker and the person filming:
"Challenge for residency."
"What's the basis for the challenge?"
'What's the specific reason?"
"Residency. That's the only answer you get... That's all I'm going to tell you."

Even more disturbing footage comes later in the clip when the poll worker is again asked the basis for challenging the student's residency. The worker walks calmly up to the camera and suddenly smacks it away.
11.21.09 4:02pm


derek said...

Seems like battery to me. The cameraman should file a police report. See if you're allowed to "monitor" the polling-place next time around with a criminal conviction on your record....

bobby said...

I know that if I were a taxpaying citizen of Dutchess county, I would not want some kids who are going to live here (PAY to live here, tax free) for a couple of years messing with my county's elections. I understand the challenge on basis of residency. Just because voting here is legal doesn't mean it's right.
You're here for four years, and then you're out. You have no business in affecting the lives of the people who live here permanently.
The poll guy was mean about it though. :[

things to remember said...

While I understand bobby's point it's also important to acknowledge that we are Vassar students for life. After we graduate we are still part of a vast network of alumnae/alumni and are therefore drawn back as intrinsic members of the community. The choices we make for Vassar and the greater Poughkeepsie community today, matter for the rest of our lives.

Nikola said...

haha so bobby if i moved to dutchess with my family i could only vote if i could prove my intention to stay for what? Eternity?

lavishluau said...

IANAL but according to NY Election Law if the student's presence in the state was primarily to attend college, he is likely not eligible to vote in New York. The relevant statute is Chapter 17 NY Laws § 5-104 first paragraph: "For the purpose of registering and voting no person shall be deemed to have *gained* or lost a residence...while a student of any institution of learning." emphasis mine. Here is the link

Likewise the poll worker did not prevent the student from voting, the student still cast a ballot, but it was placed into a separate envelope and not counted until his eligibility to vote could be verified.

Sorry to take the unpopular side here, but the poll worker is paid to uphold the law and in this case that is all that he is doing.

William said...

The poll worker was within his right to challenge the student's eligibility. Doesn't mean he wasn't politically motivated to do so, though. Definitely inappropriate behavior re: the smack though.

Dana said...

So if I were to move somewhere else, not as a student, for four years and then leave, I wouldn't be entitled to vote there, either? Logic fail...