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Legislature Pulls Resolution For New Election Commissioner

Luiz Torres

The vote on the recommendation of Luz Torres to be the next Democratic Commissioner of Elections was withdrawn Wednesday by the full Chautauqua County Legislature.

Torres, currently the Deputy Democratic Election Commissioner for the county, had her name withdrawn by all of the members of the Administrative Services Committee from the Legislature’s agenda. Christine Starks, the lone Democrat on the committee, joined her four Republican Admin Services colleagues in withdrawing support.

The Admin Services Committee includes Bob Scudder-R of Fredonia, Chair; Kevin Muldowney-R of Dunkirk, Vice Chair; Starks-D of Fredonia, Ranking Member; John Davis-R of Frewsburg; and Lisa Vanstrom-R or West Ellicott.

Torres was recommended by a majority vote of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee earlier this month and if appointed would be the first ever Latina department head and the only woman of color leading a Chautauqua County department.

County Democratic Committee Chair Norman P. Green and incumbent Democratic Election Commissioner attempted to speak on the issue at the first privilege of the floor, but was removed by a deputy sheriff at the request Democratic Legislature Minority Leader Chuck Nazzaro because the appointment resolution had been removed and Nazzaro claimed Green no longer was entitled to speak to a resolution that was withdrawn from the agenda.

New York State Election Law 3-204 notes at least 30 days before the first day of January of any year in which a commissioner of elections is to be appointed, the chairman or secretary of the appropriate party county committee shall file a certificate of party recommendation with the clerk of the appropriate local legislative body.

Green said that if a help wanted sign was put out for the position of Democratic Election Commissioner, Torres would be hired on the spot due to her experience, skills and temperament. He added that it was a shame that the Legislature was not jumping on the opportunity to hire a Latina, particularly since the county is 7.8% Hispanic according the U.S. Census Bureau.

Green added that Republicans and Democrats know that women always have to be more qualified than the male applicant and people of color have an even more uphill climb to promotions.

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