HUDSON – The Columbia County Board of Elections has moved and consolidated polling sites in Claverack and Kinderhook. In an effort to reduce election costs that increased substantially when the state mandated the use of optical-scanner voting machines, the board has reduced the number of poll sites from 34 to 32, which will save taxpayers approximately $5,000 each year. This will also make voting easier for voters and election administration easier for poll workers.
The poll site changes take effect for the primary election to be held on September 10 from noon to 9 p.m. There is a countywide primary race for the Republican Party for Sheriff, and there will be several town races, as well. The list of races, when finalized, will be available at columbiacountyny.com/elections/public.html.
“The County faces fiscal challenges, and this is one of several ways we’re going to save the taxpayers money this year,” said Republican Commissioner Jason Nastke.
Virginia Martin, the Democratic Commissioner of Elections, added that there are additional benefits. “These are two new poll sites, and both are superior to the four sites they replace. The former sites presented accessibility and other challenges that voters and our poll workers should not have to face. This will simplify Election Day for voters because finding their poll site will be easier, and, for anyone who has to cast an affidavit ballot, it will maximize the chance that his or her vote will ultimately be counted. In everything we do, we try to make it easy for people to vote, and easier for our poll workers, and that’s what these changes accomplish.”
Residents whose polling location has changed will receive a postcard from the Board of Elections indicating their new poll site. In addition, signage will be placed at each former poll site directing voters to the new location.
Poll site changes include:
Town of Claverack: Residents who formerly voted at the Town Hall/Town Court Building in Mellenville and those who voted at the Philmont Village Hall will now vote at the Philmont Area Senior Community Center, also known as the Albert L. Tripp Center, at 93 Main St. in Philmont.
Town of Kinderhook: Residents who formerly voted at St. John’s Parish Hall on Route 9 in Valatie and those who voted at the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site on Route 9H will now vote at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building at 3211 Church Street in Valatie.
The commissioners presented these changes to the Town Boards of both Claverack and Kinderhook in July.
The Board of Elections urges voters to reference either of two soon-to-be-mailed postcards, the annual yellow “mail check” card or the special card, which are being sent to them from the Board, both of which will indicate the voter’s polling location.
The Board can be reached with questions by phone at 518 828-3115 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updated maps are available on the Board’s website at columbiacountyny.com/elections/districts.html.