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Hudson Valley News

State Senator Aims To Have Every Vote Count

Cecilia Tkaczyk

A New York state Senator who won election by 18 votes, 2 ½ months after Election Day, and only after New York’s highest court became involved, wants to ensure every vote counts. To this end, she is sponsoring two bills.

The 46th Senate District race was decided 73 days after Election Day, after the intervention of New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Democratic Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk says her bills are based on her election experience against then-Republican Assemblyman George Amedore. She wants every vote to count.

She says she does not want to see any repeat experiences for voters similar to what happened during her election, with challenges to affidavit and poll worker ballot counting.

Jason Nastke disagrees. He’s the Republican Columbia County Board of Elections Commissioner, and says the previous address information serves a purpose.

Tkaczyk’s other bill removes the restriction on when a county board of elections can provide ballots to election inspectors. Under current law, such ballots shall not be given out earlier than two weeks prior to the election. Tkaczyk says her measure would allow these ballots to be available generally in the same way absentee ballots are available. She says the ballots of more than 50 poll workers in Ulster County were challenged by her opponent because of the timing. And here’s Commissioner Nastke, from Columbia County, on this bill.

Democratic State Assemblyman Frank Skartados says he has not yet seen the legislation, but plans to sign on. He says Tkaczyk is not the only one for whom a handful of votes makes a difference.

He refers to the election in which he lost to Republican Thomas Kirwan. Skartados regained the seat in a special election upon Kirwan’s death.

As for Tkaczyk’s bills, she has 21 co-sponsors for each, and Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill is sponsoring the bills in his house.

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