Monroe County Board of Elections Commissioner


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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Acting Democratic Monroe County Elections Commissioner LaShana Boose says she is not going to to fill the position on a full-time basis.

A statement released by Boose Tuesday evening said, “Now more than ever, I feel that it is imperative that Black and Brown people work together to lift each other up. That’s why after learning that another woman of color was seeking to be our elections commissioner, I have decided that I want to support Ms. Ortiz and use my experience in service of her and the board’s success.”

A state judge on Friday gave a faction of the Monroe County Democratic Committee until Monday to devise a plan to have the committee elect a county elections commissioner -- effectively halting a process that would have had Democratic county legislators appoint the new commissioner.

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A state judge will hear arguments Friday in a lawsuit intended to stop Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature from appointing a new county elections commissioner for their party.

In a peculiar twist, the judge will also hear arguments on a cross-claim filed Wednesday by three legislators.

The legislators, Rachel Barnhart, Linda Hasman, and Yversha Roman filed the cross-claim against Democratic Minority Leader Vince Felder and Monroe County Democratic Committee Chair Brittaney Wells.

Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature announced Friday that they will choose the next Democratic county elections commissioner, a stark departure from precedent spurred by infighting within the county Democratic Party.

The Monroe County Board of Elections, like other elections boards in New York, is overseen by a pair of co-commissioners, a Republican and a Democrat.

James Brown / WXXI News

Last month, state elections officials canceled the Democratic presidential primary, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled that the primary must happen on June 23. 

It's the latest shift in an unusual election season, leaving Board of Elections officials like LaShana Boose scrambling to adapt.

With a little over a month before early voting starts, Boose said the board was already planning to send out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters as a result of an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and some Democratic Monroe County legislators are challenging the county attorney’s legal opinion on the process of appointing a new Democratic county elections commissioner an ostensibly routine procedure that has been plagued by party infighting for months.

The Monroe County Board of Elections, like other elections boards in New York, is overseen by a pair of co-commissioners, a Republican and a Democrat.

Colleen Anderson, the Democratic Monroe County elections commissioner, announced Wednesday that she will step down after six months on the job to join the administration of County Executive Adam Bello.

Her departure follows that of her Republican counterpart, Douglas French, who stepped down earlier this month.

Anderson, the former deputy commissioner who ascended to her post in August following the retirement of the longtime commissioner, Thomas Ferrarese, said in an email to party leaders that she was leaving to become the county's purchasing manager.

It looks like a special election to fill out the term in the 27th Congressional District will be held April 28, the same day that the presidential primary will be held.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet formally announced that date, but an official with the  New York Attorney General’s office indicated in court Monday that is the date that Cuomo will set for an election to fill the seat previously held by Republican Chris Collins, who resigned last September. Collins resigned at around the time he also pleaded guilty to charges in an insider trading case.

The state's first-ever early balloting period started Saturday. Voters can cast votes at select polling locations until Nov 3, instead of waiting until Election Day, Nov. 5.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was expected to vote Saturday in Buffalo. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed legislation in January authorizing early voting, hasn't said if he'll vote in the early period, or on Election Day.

New York is a latecomer to early voting. All but 12 states already had it. Advocates hope expanded ballot box access will increase turnout.