TROY, NY (WRGB) — Early voting begins Saturday, but in Rensselaer County, controversy is brewing over early voting locations.
The Troy NAACP is hosting a rally at 1 p.m. outside of the Rensselaer County Board of Elections in response to the board not yet having selected early voting locations after a judge ruled Monday that the three previous locations were too remote and was not equally accessible to people of color and those living in the inner city of Troy.
Advocates say the main issue with the previous sites was that it did not have easy access to public transportation and that at least one site should be located centrally in downtown Troy.
The board had until Wednesday to select new sites but the board filed an appeal which put a hold in place.
The AG’s office had filed a motion to remove that hold, but on Friday, the Appellate Court decided to uphold the stay filed by the Rensselaer County BOE.
"We are disappointed by the Appellate Court's decision today to uphold the stay filed by the Board of Elections," said Noreen McKee, Board Member of the League of Women Voters of Rensselaer County. "This means that no early voting will be available for the voters, particularly people of color and low-income residents, living in the heart of downtown Troy for the primary election. Despite our disappointment we are hopeful and optimistic that after the next hearing on June 23rd we will have an early voting site in Troy for the general election in November."
Although there are no early voting poll sites in downtown Troy for Saturday, voters can still head to the Rensselaer County BOE to drop off their no-excuse absentee ballots.
The Rensselaer County BOE is located on 7th Avenue in downtown Troy.
"...the Board recently proposed a practical resolution for early voting sites for both the 2021 primary and general elections, but unfortunately the State Attorney General chose instead to continue litigation.”
The board issued a statement saying “Although the State Board of Elections maintains jurisdiction over the Board, since October of last year, the Board has received comments from, and communicated with, the State Attorney General with respect to the designation of sites for 2021 early voting. In particular, the Board offered the opportunity for representatives from the State Attorney General to tour potential early voting sites with the Board. However, the State Attorney General declined. Nevertheless, to address expressed concerns, the Board recently proposed a practical resolution for early voting sites for both the 2021 primary and general elections, but unfortunately the State Attorney General chose instead to continue litigation.”
Morgan Rubin, a spokesperson with the New York State Attorney General's Office responded to the BOE's statements, sending CBS6 this statement saying, "The Rensselaer County Board of Elections made absolutely no attempt towards a ‘practical resolution’ for a potential early voting site. To state otherwise does a disservice to the residents that just want and deserve a fair and equal opportunity to vote. Attorney General James will continue the fight to ensure equitable access to the polls.”
Here are the county’s early voting locations for Saturday:
In addition, an eligible voter may cast a vote at the County Board of Elections office located at the Rensselaer County Government Center (1600 Seventh Avenue, Troy)