Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

March 20, 2013

Champlain Village dissolution vote fails

Tally was 199-59, but some question legality of ballots

(Continued)

“They’re compromising the integrity of the secret ballot system,” he said Tuesday evening, frustrated that no legal opinion could immediately be found on the issue.

The Village of Champlain’s attorney was away so couldn’t be reached; Clinton County Board of Elections Commissioner Susan Castine told the Press-Republican she could not say whether the ballots are illegal, as she cannot quote election law.

The County Board does not oversee village elections.

“They said that this is our election,” said Champlain Mayor Greg Martin, “which I think is fine.”

‘NEVER COMPARED’

He harbored no fears that the confidentiality of voters could be breached.

“I have extreme faith in our election officials,” he said before the polls closed. “The ballots are locked in the box. We make no comparisons.

“At no time are those signature cards and the ballots ever compared.”

Before voting, villagers signed the yellow cards in the ledgers in the charge of election inspectors Marie Dupee and Claire Clark. Before handing the voters their ballots, they recorded the ballot number on the back of the card. 

The voters stepped behind a blue curtain, marked the ballot then put it in a locked box.

The ballots, the mayor said, were not touched again until the polls closed.

When that happened, he said, “all of the signature cards were locked up in the safe.” 

Dupee and Clark, Martin said, “did a wonderful job under some extreme circumstances.”

Barcomb had called New York State Conference of Mayors Counsel Jane Tsamardinos, who told her to continue using the ballots.

Should anyone put in a Freedom of Information request for them following the election, Barcomb said she was told, the ballot numbers could be blacked out to maintain the secrecy of the vote.

“I feel the election was legitimate,” the mayor said.

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