Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to Court

The Republican challenges to the voting rights of Columbia County voters heads back to court tomorrow, Wednesday December 30th at 1pm in front of Judge Nichols. The hearing will again be back at the Elk's Lodge on Harry Howard Blvd in Hudson. Map

All indications are that the Republicans will be dropping the challenges to most of the absentee ballots.  Columbia County Republican Chair, Greg Fingar said in a press release issued last week, “We are willing to settle this matter prior to Jan. 1 by having Judge Nichols consider certain objections to ballots, as he ruled on objections lodged by Democratic attorneys, and withdrawing the rest of our objections,” Fingar said. His statement also said that “we believe any ballot challenged solely on the basis of voter ‘qualifications’ should be opened immediately.”
Read:
Remaining Unopened Absentee Ballots to go Before the Court Again Wednesday in the Register-Star
and Lawyers Meet on Vote Challenge in The Columbia Paper
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There were also a number of letters to the editor concerning the attack on the rights of Columbia County voters this week. Read them below.
Second-Home Voters
Where's the Outcry?
Hard Way or the Easy Way?
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Two Taghkanic Resolutions - 
One Not Voted Upon and one Fails to Pass.
Following the resolutions by the towns of Copake and Chatham and the City of Hudson which supported the rights of second home owners, Republican Supervisor Betty Young introduced a resolution, called “Right to Vote,” which proposed that citizens need to be “properly informed as to legal requirements for registration and voting” and that this information should be provided and disseminated by the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Elections.

Young was clearly uncomfortable with the “Right to Vote” resolution. She bluntly admitted, “I don’t like it.” When Edwards asked then why she presented it, Young shook her head.

When the Register-Star asked who authored the resolution, Young admitted: “He doesn’t want to be acknowledged. I presented it. I did what I was asked to do.” This resolution did not even make it to a vote — Young simply said “No” when asked to make a motion to go to a vote.

A second resolution, similar to resolutions passed in Copake, Hudson and Chatham denouncing the litigation was introduced by Democrat Erin Edwards.

Taghkanic resident Jeremiah McAward stood up in the middle of the argument cum debate — an anomaly. Usually no town members speak unless they have signed up to do so. He asked, “Why don’t you ask us what we think?

LaSalvia complied, and McAward, a second homeowner since the early 1980s, said, “No one’s ever challenged me because I’m a Republican. I care who gets elected but I care more about how. You choose your principal place of residence and that’s that.”

The number of second homeowners in Taghkanic — and in fact, Columbia County — is substantial. The resolution noted that they pay a “substantial portion of the Town and School taxes.” This resolution failed to pass, with Edward and LaSalvia in favor, and Young and Town Board members Richard Skoda and Carolyn Sammons against.

Read more:
Town Tackles Ballot Issue at Last Meeting in the Register-Star 
The Right to Vote in Taghkanic in The Columbia Paper