EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Despite an endorsement from the Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners, Scarsdale Police Officer Brian Keating lost the fire district election to Tuckahoe resident Anthony Lore, who is the newest member of the board.
Lore took nearly two votes for every one Keating earned, topping him 466-261 to join the board of five commissioners, which is tasked with overseeing a $17.3 million budget that directly affects the local tax assessment.
An incoming nor’easter did nothing to help voter turnout, which has been notoriously low, leading to the commissioners to run an extensive campaign to educate the public about the importance of the election.
Just 727 votes were cast this year, down from 775 last year and a high of 1,453 in 2011.
Voter turnout has been so poor in recent years that the commissioners, backed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Sen. George Latimer, made a push to have the fire election moved to the November general election to improve its visibility to the public.
The politicians cited inclement December weather, shorter days due to the return of standard time and a limited number of polling places for the fire district election as reasons for moving the date.
On average, only about 5 percent of eligible voters make their way to the polls for the fire district elections.
“As a former League of Women Voters president, I strongly believe in franchising voters,” Paulin said. “By moving the election to Election Day in November, voters will have longer hours to vote in their usual polling place. The goal all along was to increase voter turnout, and I think this legislation will accomplish that.”
According to Commissioner Jerry Napolitano, the “five fire commissioners are responsible for general administration, the appointment of department personnel, physician, attorney and secretary, as well as preparing and adopting the annual fire district budget.”
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