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Proposed Eastchester Fire Election Change Won't Be Easy

Assembly person Amy Paulin listens to concerns from an Eastchester resident at the meeting.
Assembly person Amy Paulin listens to concerns from an Eastchester resident at the meeting. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Assembly member Amy Paulin (D-88) and Sen. George Latimer (D-37) provided several caveats to Eastchester residents about the problems with potentially moving the date of the annual fire district election.

Last week, Paulin and Latimer held a joint meeting at the Eastchester Public Library to discuss residents’ thoughts about the proposal to move the vote to the general election ballot or a date of its own.

The first issue that needs to be addressed is the inherent differences between a general election and fire district election. In the general election, candidates petition on their party line and the process is incredibly regimented and complex; whereas, the fire district petitioning is different, and the eligible voters and absentee ballot procedure is different.

Paulin said that ballots would need to be printed in various languages and would need to be adjusted to fit specific machines if the date were moved to the general election. This would lead to a dramatic increase in cost.

Currently, 23 polling sites are used for the general election, but just eight are active during fire elections. Each of those would need to be staffed, and additional ballots would have to be printed. All of the added expenditures may lead to costs quadrupling, Paulin said.

“We took the initiative to call the county and state Board of Elections to find out how much it would cost and how complicated it would be,” she said. “Their first reaction was that it couldn’t be done. On second thought it could be done with complex amendments to the law and would be exorbitantly expensive.”

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