Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight refuses to follow the law and forces voters to bring lawsuits against the Dutchess County Board of Elections to obtain relief. As an election lawyer, I have represented many voters and candidates against the Dutchess County Board of Elections, and against other Boards of Elections as well. However, I have never encountered nor even heard of a commissioner who refuses to follow the law as blatantly as Republican Commissioner Haight.
After passing the Senate and the Assembly on April 7, 2022, the Governor signed Senate Bill S8005C and Assembly Bill A9005C into law on April 9, 2022, as Chapter 55 of the Laws of 2022.
That amended the Election Law to require that whenever the campus of a college or university contains three hundred or more registered voters who are registered to vote from that campus, their polling place shall be on that campus. Vassar College has over one thousand registered voters on campus.
The law became effective on July 8, 2022, but allowed that the “deadline for boards of elections to designate polling places pursuant to this act shall be extended to August 1, 2022”. The deadline is normally March 15 of each year.
By refusing to act by August 1, 2022, Republican commissioner Haight is asking for a lawsuit against the Dutchess County Board of Elections, which will cost the taxpayers of Dutchess County untold tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, all because he refuses to comply with an unambiguous law that he disagrees with.
The voters affected by this have four months, until December 2, 2022, to bring an Article 78 lawsuit against the Dutchess County Board of Elections. How much would you bet that they will unless Commissioner Haight comes to his senses?
Do your job, Commissioner Haight, and stop costing us taxpayers our hard-earned money.
Michael Treybich, Esq.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid-Hudson News.