Landmark Port Chester Cumulative Voting Election to Be Set for June 2010

Dec 17, 2009, 14:22 ET from Village of Port Chester (NY)

PORT CHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Port Chester Mayor Dennis G. Pilla, on behalf of the Village Board of Trustees, has announced that members of the Port Chester Board of Trustees will hold a press conference TODAY, Thursday, December 17, 2009 in front of the Hon. Charles L. Brieant Jr. Federal Building and Courthouse located at 300 Quarropas Street, White Plains (NY), immediately following the Village's appearance before U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson at 3:30 p.m. to present a consent decree detailing the Village's plans for a Cumulative Voting Trustee election system and Voter Education Plan, as previously requested by the Judge.

Judge Robinson had requested that the Village work with the plaintiffs to develop a detailed bilingual voter education and outreach plan as part of his November 6, 2009 decision granting Port Chester their preference for a Cumulative Voting trustee election system to remedy a Section 2 violation of the Voting Rights Act, from a matter that was initially brought against the Village by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2006. The jointly developed consent decree sets an election for all six Village Trustee seats to be held on June 15th, 2010.

The Judge's historic ruling marks the first time that Cumulative Voting will be used in New York State, and puts an end to a three year litigation during which time Village Trustee elections were ordered by the Judge to be held off pending resolution of this matter. At present, all five seated Trustees are serving in expired terms. One Trustee seat is currently vacant.

The detailed Cumulative Voting implementation and education plan includes many important and landmark elements for New York village elections, including 'early voting' that will allow voters with walk-in access to vote during the week before the June 15th election day. The plan also includes bi-lingual voter education forums to be held in the months leading up to the June election, along with multi-media advertising, and a mock (practice) election. Port Chester will hire a dedicated bilingual election outreach coordinator to oversee the activities that are envisioned by the parties in the Voter Education Plan.

Cumulative Voting is an alternative at-large election system where all voters have the same number of votes, but gain the power to cast more than one vote for the same candidate. It has been used in American elections since the 19th century, and currently is used in more than sixty American localities, including Peoria (IL) and Amarillo (TX). This proven method is an improvement over "winner take all" will allow any group of like-minded voters to rally behind their preferred candidates and give them a better chance to win.

    Mayor Dennis G. Pilla

SOURCE Village of Port Chester (NY)