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Regulations allow seasonal residents to vote

BLUFF POINT—Residents attending the weekend Bluff Point Association (BPA) annual meeting heard Scott Demmin explain how seasonal votes can now have more impact locally.
Demmin, one of the BPA directors, said he spoke with the Yates County Board of Elections about a change in the interpretation of who can vote. Robert Brechko, Democratic commissioner for the Yates County Board of Elections, said the regulations concerning residency have been broadened. For example, he said in order to vote in Yates the board of elections used to prefer the mail to be delivered to an area residence or have that address on a driver’s license. Now, all those residents need is a “continued significant attachment.” Brechko said this could include the property being family owned and a person spending time there.
John Conklin, with the state board of elections, said a number of court cases have caused the state to change the interpretation on voting for seasonal residents. Any effects from court cases are added to an annual, legal update the commissioners get. This year’s states a person may choose between dual residiencies when voting.
“It’s always been a gray area,” Brechko said.
Demmin said the election law states primary residence is no longer relevant. He explained that even if someone owns a house on Keuka Lake and that person can still choose to vote in this area. A resident can choose to vote in any other area (other than the primary residence) as long as this location is considered a “serious attachment.” Demmin said this applies to out of state residents with seasonal homes in New York.
He told the members they should consider “where do you have more influence?” He added that he had done some research into the number of potential voters in Bluff Point. He said there were 532 registered voters. Demmin did a count of the parcels, and taking away empty or mostly rental ones, there are an estimated 875 parcels with potential voters. He said that if you figured an average of two voters per household, that is 1,746 potential voters.
Concerns from some members included if voting in a different state would mess with exemptions they receive from another state.
The BPA members also heard about Jerusalem’s subdivision law from Demmin. He gave an estimated timeline of when it could go before the different boards. Demmin said the town board would see it Aug. 19 and a public meeting would probably be scheduled in September.
“It’s not perfect by everyone’s opinion,” he said, adding it can’t be. However, Demmin said this law would allow the town to be proactive to future problems.
Art Adams, board of directors chair, gave a report on the debt service and taxes paid to the Penn Yan Central School District. He said that last school year the town of Jerusalem paid 42.7 percent of school taxes for 2007-08 with $6.46 million. In 2008-09, the town paid 43.7 percent with $6.63 million.
The BPA members voted to ask the school district about using any remaining funds from the construction project, if it comes in under budget, to help lower the debt service over the next few years.
Bob Scharf, commissioner of Keuka Lake State Park, spoke about the condition of Long Hill Road. He said he sent a letter to Tim Joseph, regional director of New York State Parks, about fixing the guardrails, improving the road surface, and reducing the speed from 40 miles per hour to 25. A day later he got a call from Joseph. Scharf said he was told the road is a low priority to the parks. If repairs were done to the road, it would have to be closed, which several BPA members said they would not mind as long as they could use the seasonal road through the Keuka Lake State Park instead. However, Scharf said he was told the road repair is not a concern at this time.
BPA members also voted on board of director members. Joyce Herbert, secretary, and Lisa Saether, treasurer, were reelected for two years. Rob Plummer and Bruce Turner were also elected for two year terms. Adams was elected as chair for one year. Nora Goodwin, treasurer, and Roger Kiel retired.

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