The Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance in an effort to provide voters with easier, secure access to the polls encouraged all who could to travel in the sheets of rain on January 23, 2018, Tuesday–yes, a weekday, but this was the only way to confirm ahead of time appointments to take advantage of lobbying day at NY’s capital–to Albany. Five from Union Vale went up, there to meet with another from Serino’s NYS Senate District to discuss extending voting. We wanted to make sure that NYS will provide money for this secure voting extension as did the state of Maryland. Governor Cuomo has said that he wants the extended voting days, but HAS NOT put the funds into the NYS budget. We went to Albany to remind Senator Serino that ALL the people should have an opportunity to vote. Individuals should not be penalized because they commute to work, drive trucks, are in the fire or police departments and have no control of their daily schedules, work in retail on schedules which constantly change, have children or those needing care at home, or are nervous about driving in the snow and ice.
Senator Serino, we were told by her staffer, was at a committee meeting, and we have no reason not to accept that she was. However, our meeting with her at 1:00pm had been confirmed ahead of time. Her staffer then went on to say that Senator Serino often tells petitioners that there is a big difference between “want” and “need.” We explained that the right to vote in a functioning democracy is definitely the ultimate NEED. Before all six of Senator Serino’s constituents had the chance to present their views, her staffer had to dash off to take a conference call and suggested we make an appointment in her Hyde Park office. Well, we know a brush off when we see one, but we are going to Hyde Park anyway because allowing everyone to vote is the essential action of any democracy. When we get a confirmed appointment, we’ll let you know. Please join us! We have just begun.