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Targeting second-home owner voters; Acting couple to host voter registration drive

Actors Debra Winger and Arliss Howard will host a voter registration drive on October 6.

By Fritz Mayer
September 25, 2013

It’s well-established law in New York State that residents who occupy more than one home have a choice about where they can register and vote. A person who owns or rents an apartment in New York City, for instance, and who also owns a second home in the Town of Delaware, is permitted to register and vote in the Town of Delaware even if that home is not the voter’s primary place of residence.

In this election year, two actors who have become active in local politics are hosting a voter registration drive on Sunday, October 6, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Eddie Adams Barn, 247 Jeffersonville-North Branch Road. The actors are Arliss Howard and Debra Winger.

The press release announcing the event makes clear that second-home owners are invited. It says, “In western Sullivan County, weekend and vacation homes may account for a third or more of all homes, but part-time residents are underrepresented at the polls. Debra Winger thinks that many of her neighbors simply don’t understand that they are entitled to participate in local elections. ‘Under state election law, home is where the heart is’, she says. ‘You are not required to register and vote from your primary residence; the law permits voters to choose where you cast your vote.’”

The press release also reflects the recent divides this year over positions and actions taken by local officials in some western Sullivan towns regarding gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing versus the wishes a majority of the residents.

It says, “‘In our small towns, every vote really does count because elections are sometimes decided by just a handful of votes,’ says Mr. Howard. (He and Ms. Winger are married, and longtime residents of the Town of Fremont.) Like many area residents, Howard has become active in town politics in recent years. ‘It is critically important that our town boards accurately reflect the wishes of the residents because they have the power to make land-use decisions that can either protect, or radically alter, the rural character of our towns,’ he added.”

More details

“Volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions about the election law, and to explain whether or not a change in voter registration can affect things like jury duty eligibility and STAR exemptions.

“Musical entertainment will be provided by The Needmore Brothers, also known as Cliff Westfall and Matthew Horn. Cliff and Matthew describe their act as ‘playing original country-ish tunes and covers from both left and right field.’”