January 29, 2014 —
The two winners of the contest to appear on the Democratic line in the March election for village trustee spots are Doug Solomon who, according to unofficial results, received 342 votes, and Jill Weyer, who received 318.
Rochelle Massey received 164 votes and Oswald Allen received 144.
The primary was marked by charges of attempted voter suppression by Massey over the changing of the polling place from the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center, which, according to Massey, had been used for voting for some 20 years, to the Monticello Firehouse at the other end of town.
Massey, who is the long-time girlfriend of Mayor Gordon Jenkins, brought a lawsuit against the Town of Thompson Democratic Committee, the other candidates and the Sullivan County Board of Elections (BOE). She said the move was an attempt at suppressing minority voters. She said in a statement, “We have voted from the center for years, at least two decades. This is a vital part of our community. The only reason for this change is to disenfranchise voters.'"
Democratic election commissioner Ann Prusinski was angered by the lawsuit and called it “a belligerent approach to the democratic process whereby Ms. Massey has resorted to legal wrangling and allegations of racism over genuine leadership.”
She also said the political party, not the BOE, is responsible for the selection of the primary polling place, and, “The poll site chosen to accommodate the January 28th election is a BOE certified poll site, is ADA accessible and affords adequate parking, convenience and security to all village voters as they determine the fate and future of Monticello.”
On Friday, January 24, Judge Michael McGuire dismissed the lawsuit, saying Massey did not have standing to bring it.
Massey then issued a statement saying even though she did not agree with the judge’s decision, she would not appeal it because that would only serve further confuse voters about the actual location of the polling place.
Soloman and Weyer have been endorsed by the ad-hoc group called Monticello United, comprised of the four registered political parties in the Town of Thompson, which was formed in the wake of the Jenkins’ arrest for alleged drunk driving, which made national headlines.
The village election will be held on March 18.