Voting For a New Monroe County Board of Elections Commissioner

(updated on 8.6.19 with more information about Ashley Gantt’s candidacy; updated portion is italicized)

On Thursday, August 8th, the Monroe County Democratic Committee members will vote to select a new Monroe County Board of Elections Commissioner- this person will fill the vacancy left by the retirement of current Commissioner Tom Ferrerase, who has served 4 terms, and started a 5th in January. Per state law, county Democrats have 45 days to vote on a permanent replacement.

The meeting starts at 6pm, with credentialing starting at 5pm, and will be held at Workers United, 750 East Ave.

Both the Republican and Democratic county committees choose a Commissioner for their own party, and the appointment is confirmed by the County Legislature.

There are three declared candidates:

Current Board of Elections Deputy Commissioner Colleen Anderson- she notes in the letter sent to committee members that she has 10 years of experience as Deputy Commissioner, and that given upcoming changes like early voting, experience is necessary.

Nicole Hushla Re- Nicole brings with her a lot of campaign experience, currently serves on the Irondequoit Town Board, and as MCDC’s Executive Vice Chair. Nicole notes in her letter that she is committed to the integrity and security of our elections, transparency, and accessibility, as well as impartiality, and bridge building. She also notes that she believes “the Board of Elections Commissioner should be neutral on internal party politics. If elected, I will step down as Vice Chair at MCDC and refrain from engaging in primaries outside of my duties at the BOE.”

Ashley Gantt (no relation to Assemblymember Gantt)- I’ve not received a letter from her as of the time of this writing, and have reached out to her for a comment, which I’ll add here once I’ve heard from her. I received a copy of Ashley’s letter via email on 8.6.19. Ashley notes in her letter that “It is crucial that the next commissioner promote and implement inclusiveness and fairness, so that the party can benefit from the best and broadest possible selection of candidates.” I’ve met Ashley a number of times, from rallies, to political events, and she brings campaign, and organizing experience to the table.

If you are a committee member, and unable to make the meeting on Thursday, you are allowed to name a proxy, to vote for you. The form can be found on MCDC’s website and can be downloaded and filled out, and given to your proxy, who is only allowed to be a proxy for one committee member.

This is about why to get involved with your Democratic committee.

When people ask me about how to get involved with local politics, other than voting, I mention a few things:

  • Volunteer for a campaign

  • Join the Democratic committee in your area

As a committee member, you’ll attend meetings, vote on which candidates should receive the Democratic nomination in the race they are running, elect new committee leadership, and new party leadership, help support candidates financially, attend some fun social gatherings, vote for new Board of Elections Commissioner- ultimately, impacting all of us with your voice, and vote. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

How do you get involved? Contact MCDC, and ask about joining your Democratic committee. There needs to be a vacancy in order for you to added to the committee (or you can carry petitions to primary for a seat)- so keep that in mind.

Whether or not you join a committee, now is the time to get involved. Let’s go!