BOE: New votes unlikely to sway elections

ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County Board of Elections officials say the votes of second home owners are not likely to skew upcoming elections.

In a decision reaffirmed by the New York Suprme Court Third Appellate Division last October, New Yorkers have the right to choose where they vote if they own more than one home.

This means that owners of second homes in the Adirondacks can choose to vote in their upstate elections regardless of which home they claim as their primary residece.

"This is driven by court decisions that have progressively loosened things up over the years," said Essex County election commissioner David Mace.

Though similar court rulings have been made for decades, this issue came to the forefront again in 2008 during the special election to fill New York's 20th Congressional District seat.

The tightly contested race between candidates Scott Murphy and Jim Tedisco drew attention to New York City residents who owned second homes upstate, many of whom voted by absentee ballots, which were counted in the late stages of the election and proved to be thedifference in giving Murphy the lead.

Mace said second homeowner votes probably won't play as big a role in the anticipated special election for the 23rd Congressional District seat.

"My sense is, and it's a vaguely informed sense, is that it's less so up here because we're that much further away from the population centers."

Although a great deal of second homeowner votes supported Murphy in the 2008 race, Mace said it's not fair to say whether second homeowner votes tend to lean Democrat or Republican.

"That would require a detailed analysis," he said.

Mace also said the Board of Elections is equipped to prevent second homeowners from filing duplicate registrations.

"If it's in New York State, it's automatic," said Mace. "If you register here, your information is electronically transmitted to the State Board of Elections." If their primary residence is outside the state, he said, the Board of Elections in that state is contacted.

Still, he stressed that there won't be a lot of participation by second homeowners located in Essex County.

"I don't think a lot of them are registered up here," Mace said.

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