The Nassau Board of Elections has agreed to abide by state law and include the names of political party committee members in its future election reports.
Democratic Elections Commissioner David Gugerty in an email to Newsday said Friday, “Going forward, uncontested party positions will be included in the Board’s canvass.” He said he also was responding on behalf Republican Commissioner Louis Savinetti.
Newsday had asked the commissioners what they planned to do after the state Election Board had reached out to Nassau because, its spokeman said, local boards “are not allowed to ignore state law.”
State law requires that election boards compile a canvass of primary election returns that include “the names of persons who shall have been nominated for public office or elected to a party position without balloting.”
Political parties are entitled to have two committee members for each of Nassau’s approximately 1,100 election districts. Committee members are considered elected officials, who must collect nominating petitions to run for the party positions. The vast majority, however, run unopposed.
The Nassau Board, which has an annual budget of more than $19 million and upwards of 150 employees, acknowledged to Newsday that “uncontested party positions have not been included in the Board’s canvass of election returns for many years.”
The board had denied separate requests by Newsday and Uniondale community activist Terenna Williams for a copy of the canvass of primary election returns that included political party committee member names.
Gugerty also said in his email, “While the information you requested was not available in the form you specified, it has always been provided to the public upon request, whether by making copies of petitions available for review in our office or providing petition copies.”
But Williams, who once worked for the board, said Friday, “If we talk about Democrats and Republicans, we’re talking about thousands of petitions.”
Also, she said, “That means we have to compile our own data. No. Thats what the board does. It collects data and finds the numbers and reports them. That’s what they do.”