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Monroe County Board of Elections

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There’s been a compromise reached on drop boxes that Monroe County’s Board of Elections will be using to make it more convenient for residents to vote by absentee ballot.

The Monroe County Board of elections said on Wednesday that it is moving ahead with an alternative to two options that were being looked at, which included having either a cardboard box or a metal box.

James Brown / WXXI News

Board of Elections officials said Friday that there are 25,000 new voter registrations in Monroe County so far this year.

The new voters mean higher turnout expectations, said Democratic Board Elections Commissioner Jackie Ortiz.

“We anticipate somewhere between 80 and 85%,” Ortiz said.

She said the last presidential election turnout was 76%.

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Tuesday was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, and good government organizations such as Common Cause New York are encouraging young people to sign up to work at voting sites this fall.

Executive Director Susan Lerner noted that poll workers are generally older, and during the pandemic, many may be opting out of being a poll worker out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

``Young people can help our elections and make some extra money by becoming poll workers and relieve the pressure on our older poll workers," Lerner said.

cityofrochester.gov

The splintered Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature appointed City Councilmember Jackie Ortiz to serve as Democratic elections commissioner, effective immediately.

A group of nine Democrats, led by Legislator Yversha Roman, convened at 8 a.m. Thursday to make the appointment. The meeting was swift with no debate, other than a brief remark from Legislator John Baynes following the vote.

Spurned Democratic legislators form breakaway bloc

Aug 26, 2020
File Photo / CITY

Four Democratic Monroe County legislators announced Wednesday that they have formed their own caucus, effectively breaking away from the bulk of their party colleagues.

The group also submitted legislation seeking funding for their independent bloc, known as the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus, monies that would be drained from the Democratic caucus.

In a sign that their request may be successful, Legislature President Joe Carbone, a Republican, immediately accepted the measure for legislators to consider.

Promotions at Board of Elections rile Democrats

Aug 23, 2020
Ryan Williamson / CITY

The interim Monroe County Democratic elections commissioner at the center of a rift that has divided her party promoted four staffers to new controversial positions in the Board of Elections over the past month as Democrats prepared to install her successor.

The promotions, approved by acting Democratic Elections Commissioner LaShana Boose, infuriated some party leaders and her presumed successor, who learned of them this week and cast them as an eleventh-hour effort by Boose to amass power within the board’s rank and file.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing legislation that will open up the process for requesting absentee ballots for the fall election, local boards of election are expected to get many more of those types of ballots than in past years.

Now, if you have a concern about an outbreak, including the coronavirus, you are eligible to get an absentee ballot.

Provided

A state judge on Friday said there was nothing precluding the Monroe County Legislature from installing a new Democratic county elections commissioner now — upending an argument used by legislative leaders to delay the confirmation of Jackie Ortiz earlier in the week.

Legislators, spurred by a small faction of Democrats, on Tuesday put off voting on a long-awaited measure to confirm the appointment of Ortiz, whom members of the county Democratic Committee last month overwhelmingly elected to be the next elections commissioner.

CITY/File photo

Monroe County legislators on Tuesday put off voting on a long-awaited measure to confirm the appointment of a county Democratic elections commissioner at the request of the party's leadership.

Assistant Minority Leader Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, a Democrat representing northeast and northwest portions of Rochester, asked that the measure to appoint Jackie Ortiz as the elections commissioner be pulled pending the outcome of litigation regarding the position. 

Provided

Now that Rochester City Councilmember Jackie Ortiz has been chosen by Democratic Party leaders to be their next Board of Elections commissioner, one of the biggest critics of the process said it may be time to make peace. 

Monroe County Minority Leader Vince Felder said Monday that what happens next is up to county legislators, who will vote on the position next month. Felder said these appointments are typically made without much of a fight. 

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