Column: Disenfranchised Voters Deserve Better Than a Brush-Off

Written by City & State on . Posted in Politics.


Via City & State

By Michael Benjamin

My jaw dropped when I read this week about some 300 upstate voters inadvertently disenfranchised from the federal primary due to a mapping error.

Unbelievable! For six weeks, no one had a clue or uttered a word about this voting-rights violation. That is, until Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny entertained local media by reciting the names of all 193 cities and towns in NY-21—except one, the town of Ballston. It was then that someone finally noticed.

You see, most of the town of Ballston, except the village of Ballston Spa, is in NY-20. Ballston Spa was redrawn into NY-21 in this year’s decennial redistricting.

Saratoga election commissioner Roger Schiera dismissed the omission by faulting the federal court’s maps for not having the same level of detail as maps provided by the state’s Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research (LATFOR) in the past.

“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,” Schiera lamely told YNN.

State Board of Elections spokesman Tom Connolly disagreed. He countered that LATFOR worked with the federal special master to create digital shapefiles for the county boards to use.

On LATFOR’s website the NY-21 map clearly shows that Ballston Spa is in the congressional district. Ironically, the Saratoga County BoE is headquartered in Ballston Spa.

Schiera compounded his idiocy by adding, “[T]his mistake didn’t impact the outcome. Even if all of the Republicans eligible to vote had backed Kellie Greene [Doheny’s opponent], she still would have lost by more than 5,000 votes.”

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