Despite order, Rensselaer County not adding voting sites

Rensselaer County

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Rensselaer County Board of Elections (BOE) is pushing back against a ruling about local polling locations. The BOE has opted not to add any more early voting sites despite a judge’s order to do so.

Rensselaer County voters expecting to see more accessible early voting when polls open Saturday will actually have to wait a little longer. The Board of Elections’ Republican and Democratic commissioners had until Wednesday to select a fourth voting site and comply with a supreme court judge’s order.

NEWS10 now learns that instead of planning that new site, they’ve responded with an appeal filed Wednesday. We decided to visit the Board of Elections office to ask about the reasoning behind the extra delay.

“We can’t comment because we have pending litigation. It’s been appealed and we can’t comment right now,” said Republican Commissioner Jason Schofield. “I can’t comment on legal issues or pending issues.”

The original lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James argues that the BOE consistently refused to set up an early voting site in downtown Troy—the county’s most densely populated area. That makes it harder for the majority Black, Hispanic, and lower-income residents to vote.

Local activist groups including the NAACP, Troy Coalition of Black Leaders, and the Justice Center of Rensselaer County all make that same argument. “People came up with real ideas, real solutions. Some of them were even cookie-cutter,” said Jerry Ford with the Troy Coalition of Black Leaders earlier this week. “They could’ve just met us halfway with those, but we really didn’t get an explanation.”

The three sites that will open Saturday for primary early voting will be Schodack Town Hall, the Brunswick Office Building, and the Holy Cross Armenian Church.

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