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Trustees nonresponsive to request on denial of voting rights

JULIE LANE PHOTO Charges of voter disenfranchisement continue to swirl around Dering Harbor.

Charges of voter disenfranchisement continue to swirl around Dering Harbor.

Will the Dering Harbor Village Board grant resident James Goldman the right to speak at the June 21 meeting about what he charges was voter disenfranchisement?

That appears to be doubtful, as Mayor Tim Hogue has previously turned down his request, maintaining it was not a subject for an October 2013 meeting. Village Trustees have been nonresponsive to Reporter inquiries about whether they would add the latest request to the agenda.

In a June 6 communication sent to Village Trustees Mary Walker, Brandon Rose, Richard Smith and Heather Brownlie, Mr. Goldman said he was concerned about “the behavior of our mayor and his two paid employees” who refused to count the ballot of Deybis Rodriguez when she sought to vote in the June 18, 2013, election.

His reference was to Village Clerk Laura Hildreth, who Ms. Rodriguez said refused to put her ballot in the box to be counted and to Village Attorney Joseph Prokop, who backed up Ms. Hildreth’s action. Both refused further comment on the action, except for Mr. Prokop, in a written letter to Ms. Rodriguez saying actions were taken in line with the law.

Mr. Goldman asked the Trustees to put him on the agenda and further requested they let him know if they support a suggestion from Anna Svizzero, director of elections for the New York State Board of Elections, that Suffolk County be empowered to conduct Dering Harbor Elections.

He told the Reporter he hasn’t had any response from the trustees, including Mr. Rose, appointed as an interim trustee in December 2013, when long-time trustee Linda Adams resigned. In seeking election to a full term on June 17, Mr. Rose told the Reporter he has “the opportunity to listen to the residents’ concerns with an open mind and the ability to work with the community to find creative resolution to their various concerns.”

Also on the ballot on June 17 is Mayor Hogue and incumbent Trustee Mary Walker. All are running unopposed.

Mr. Goldman questioned Mr. Rose’s statement in view of his lack of response to the request to be listed on the June 21 agenda.

Ms. Walker told the Reporter this week, “I have nothing really to talk to you about,” even before a question could be asked about whether she would grant Mr. Goldman’s request. The other trustees were equally nonresponsive.

What Mr. Goldman said he wants is an agreement to seek “a detailed explanation of what took place” the day Ms. Rodriguez was denied the right to have her vote counted and what occurred in the days proceeding the voting that resulted in Ms. Rodriguez being singled out for such treatment when others in the Village with transferred registrations received no challenge to their ballots.

In copying other Dering Harbor residents on his inquiry to the trustees, Mr. Goldman received support from several, while only one person questioned why Village officials should concern themselves with the issue when there are “real problems” people have with a lack of food, money, medical care, or a roof over their heads.

In a letter to the editor this week, Mayor Hogue said the reason Ms. Rodriguez was denied the right to have her vote count was that she had just voted in New Jersey. But he refers to 2012 while it was in 2013 that her ballot wasn’t counted. She had previously acknowledged having voted in New Jersey, but said she changed her voting address to Dering Harbor well in advance of the 30-day requirement to vote in the 2013 election.

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