Supervisor appeals to Albany for absentee ballots while appealing court order to hold an election.
While denying Edgemont’s right to vote, Mr. Feiner is simultaneously taking efforts to improve our voter rights? This apparent hypocrisy is even more stark when we look at all the data we have at our fingertips (and Feiner likely has at his): absentee ballots are substantially better for pro-incorporation voters than they are anti-incorporation voters, no matter the time of year.
So why is the Town Supervisor, who is against incorporation and spearheaded a home-rule request to thwart incorporation (despite protests from people both inside and outside of Edgemont), now helping Edgemont incorporate?
What population is he catering to? The pro-incorporation people? They want a vote. The anti-incorporation people? They want a real shot at winning the eventual election -- which would be diminished if the Town accepts absentee ballots. In fact, we have every expectation that he’ll fight every absentee ballot submitted.
He’s catering only to himself and his board, who want to remain in control of Edgemont just a little longer. They are simply prolonging an inevitable decision and delaying the preparation of a go-forward plan. This has left everyone—the rest of unincorporated, Town employees, and Edgemont—hanging in the balance.
How do we know this? Well, our lawyers tell us that the 12-year old attorney general opinion Feiner referenced in his letter is: 1) non-binding; and 2) based in part on a lower court decision back in 1961 that said absentee ballots were not allowed in school board elections, which we know is not the law today.
We also know that: 3) 8 years after that opinion was written, Albany amended Town Law Section 84-a (a state law) to make absentee ballots mandatory in all town-run special elections; and 4) Article 2 of the Village Law (another state law), makes clear that referendums on incorporation are town-run special elections. Indeed, when we filed our incorporation petition back in February 2017, we were required to pay the Town $6,000 so that the Town would have the funds to run that very election.
The Town is required run our referendum. If Mr. Feiner decides the Town now won’t distribute absentee ballots unless Albany gives the Town an unnecessary approval, that’s yet another act of voter suppression by Feiner and the Town.
Where do we stand? We’ve requested an expedited appeal with the appellate court, and the Judge already ordered Feiner to show cause by February 23 why the appeal shouldn’t move quickly (naturally, Feiner and his attorney Mr. Spolzino already objected to an accelerated schedule). Nonetheless, Feiner will keep finding ways to create delay for him and his board, which will consume additional taxpayer dollars and inflame voters even more (if that’s possible).
This political maneuvering continues to move voters in one direction as Feiner exposes his only true political priority. He is taking big risks with taxpayer dollars, all for the sake of his own job—and with no personal downside under state law. This violates the basic principles of our democracy that are understood even by young children. But we guess that’s what longtime supervisors can do when their job is secure.
Watch out, Mr. Feiner. We think Greenburgh is changing on you, and the public is wise to the parlor tricks of misdirection you keep playing. It’s still not too late to change course and lead the Town into the future.