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P.O. Box 787,
Middletown New York, 10940.
This article originally appeared in The ECA Reporter, Volume
Number 9, Issue Number 1, January 2001. Used by kind permission
of the author.
On a brighter note, Orange County successfully counted
8,103 Absentee (all of them) and Affadavit Ballots on our new
OptiScan Ballot Counter. The Commissioners from Orange
are grateful to our County Executive and Legislature for granting
approval for the purchase of this equipment. We had two close
races in the County, and the candidates did not have to wait days
to find out the absentee count; it was done in a matter of minutes.
We hope that other counties can take advantage of this kind of
The Plight of the Election Commissioner
The 2000 General Election has brought to light the plight of the
Election Commissioner. We (those of us that have been able to get
home) have been watching with fascination the developments facing
our Florida counterparts. It is troubling, however, to think that
there are elected officials throughout the Nation who would condemn
both elected and appointed Commissioners about policies and procedures
that they have not even researched.
I was troubled to watch Congressman David Drier (R) CA - 8th CD
on the Paula Zahn show on FOX News. He and Congressman Jerrold Nadler
(D) NY - 3rd CD were discussing the ballot counting in Florida and
the "overseas" and military ballots. Congressman Nadler
tried valiantly to defend us; however airtime constraints cut him
You will find following a letter that I sent to Congressman Drier
that has not been responded to. It is my hope that more can be done
to instill confidence in this process that I know my counterparts
in New York State take very seriously.
Text of letter:
November 10, 2000
Congressman Dave Drier
28th Congressional District
Connon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
As 1st Vice President of the New York State Election Commissioners'
Association, I am compelled to write to you concerning the statement
you made last evening (November 9, 2000) on the FOX News Show, with
Paula Zahn. You stated that New York State does not count their
military adn overseas ballots. It is difficult for me to believe
that a Congressman would make such a remark without stating the
reasoning for that thought.
For your information, absentee vallots to Military and Special
Voters are required to be mailed 52 days before an election. those
ballots can be mailed back at any time following that date, but
must be postmarked no later than the day before an election, to
be received no later than 7 days following the election. let me
assure you, Congressman Drier, that all ballots that meet those
requirements are counted at the Orange County Board of Elections.
I am further confident that all my fellow Commissioners in the remaining
51 counties, up to and including the Counties within the City of
New York, also count Military and Special Federal Ballots that fit
the proper requirements by law. We count all voters in New York,
and every vote does indeed count.
As difficult as it is to get all eligible citizens to register
to vote and to participate in the voting process, I find it incredible
that a Congressman such as yourself would make a statement that
was purely being used for political purposes. Your remark does a
great disservice to New York's many voters currently in the service
of this great country, and to its citizens presently living abroad.
You have taken it upon yourself to question the integrity of the
entire election process in New York State, which is just unacceptable
to me. Further, your remark feeds any uneasiness a voter may already
harbor concerning the electoral process.
It is my hope that you will learn more about the process of elections
in all states so that your future statements concerning this process
can be informative and accurate.
Commissioner of Elections
Orange County, New York