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Committee votes down proposal to move Board of Elections to Whitestown

By WKTV News

WHITESTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County's Board of Elections is staying in Utica. Oneida County's Board of Legislators Government Operations Committee voted down a proposal Wednesday on moving the Board of Elections Office from Union Station in Utica to the the former Oneida County Airport.

Committee members voted 5 to 4. The proposal needed 6 votes to move on to the county's Ways and Means Committee and then to the full board of legislators. If passed by the Board of Legislators the decision would have gone to a public referendum in November.

Legislators that were for the move say the Whitestown building on Airline Street would be big enough to hold the Board of Elections Office as well as voting machines all under one roof. They argued the move would bring more efficiency and save the county over $60,000 by moving the voting machines out of their current leased location on Broad Street to one the county already owns.

Chairman of the Government Operations Committee Mike Waterman who backed the proposal says approving the move, would have given the tax payers an opportunity to have a say in the county's bigger plan to rearrange county offices.

"The Board of Election is one component of the whole move, the only hitch is there's a local law which prohibits the board of election from moving without a public referendum...so trying to move this forward so the public can vote on this in November," says Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Waterman.

The Office of Mental Health and the Office for the Aging have already moved to the Whitestown building.

Waterman says now unfortunately the tax payers won't have a chance to have a say on the issue, at least not this year.
Moving the voting machines out of leased space is still on the table for discussion, but that does not require a public vote because it does not involve changing a law.

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