Dutchess legislator seeks to replace elections commissioner

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Democratic Election Commissioner Beth Soto is being challenged for her position by Democratic Legislator Hannah Black of Hyde Park.  The County Democratic Committee will meet to make their nomination and then forward it to the county legislature for confirmation.

Black, in an email to county committee members, claims that Soto is working with Republicans to suppress voting.  “Over the past two years, we have seen voter suppression as the board of elections put a new early voting site for the primary at a police station in the Town of Poughkeepsie and moved another poll site from Interfaith Tower to the City of Poughkeepsie police station – a longtime Republican priority – with our current commissioner’s rubber stamp of approval.”

County Legislator Hannah Black

Black’s colleague on the legislature, Giancarlo Llaverias spoke of Black’s bid.  “Hannah’s experience as a legislator and former minority leader gives her the adequate tools to be a successful commissioner.  Hannah is tough, smart, and compassionate.  I think she would be a good fit.”  Llaverias is also on the county committee and is undecided on which candidate he will be supporting.

Saying “Our party deserves better,” Black added “Many Democratic candidates have struggled to get the information they need for their campaigns and many committees have not received help with lists of new voters.” Black also accused Soto of working to reduce the accountability of her office. “Our current commissioner worked closely with Republicans to undermine the county committee and reduce accountability at the board of elections by going behind our backs to try to change their term length from two years to four years.

Soto drew the ire of some members of the party in February of this year when she fired Deputy Elections Commissioner, Elisa Sumner.  Sumner was, and still is, the chairwoman  of the Dutchess County Democratic Committee.