Dutchess County college students protest right to vote
Some college students in Dutchess County are claiming their right to vote is being unfairly vetoed. Our Christian Farrell has more on the protest in Poughkeepsie.
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Students at Marist College in Poughkeepsie are voicing their displeasure with the Dutchess County voting process. At a campus news conference, they went public with their protest against Erik Haight, Republican County Elections Commissioner.
"We submitted about a hundred voter registration cards. Based on what the Republican Commisssioner said, none of those students will be able to vote," said Daniel Torres, Marist Senior Daniel Torres.
According to Haight, the voter registration cards submitted don't contain dorm room numbers, so now they cannot be used.
"What I was told is that, that's the law," said Torres.
One issue that students here at Marist College point out is that they're being asked to provide address information that other registered voters in this county are not providing. And that they said it is discriminatory.
"I used the Freedom of Information Act to acquire voting records of people who live in similar housing, and found that they are not required to do the same thing that students are," said Torres.
According to these county voting records, the majority of residents living in a Rhinebeck senior housing complex list only a street address, not an apartment number. Dutchess Democratic Elections Commissioner Fran Knapp has taken the students side.
"For the commissioner to now say, that by the way I just want your dorm name, and I'm not going to register you until you provide it, that's just plain wrong," said Knapp.
"We ask that in order to have a complete application to be registered to vote, that you provide both. And it's on the document that we receive from the State Board of Elections," said Haight.
Haight said it's been the county's policy to require such information for nearly a decade.
"No one is being discriminated against, students or no one else for that matter," said Haight.
The students said they're considering legal action to make sure their votes count on election day.