Albany High School Renovation Plan Passes Amid Polling Problems
"It's a big win for our community, our families, and most of all our students," said Albany Board of Education President Kenneth Bruce.
"I thought it was a reasonable proposal; I'm just deeply disturbed by how we arrived at the results that we did," said Albany County Legislator Chris Higgins.
In a second vote, city residents approved a multi-million dollar expansion for Albany High School, but some are questioning the integrity of the vote.
"The fact that the lines were as long as they were, that there were only 15 polling locations" were two of the reasons Higgins gave for being unhappy.
When Higgins went to vote, he said the polling location ran out of ballots.
"I think that's completely inexcusable," he added.
With nearly 8,000 voters, district officials say Tuesday was the second highest turnout in almost 20 years. But only 5,300 ballots were initially printed.
"The problems with polling locations throughout the city were unacceptable," Bruce said. "I know people are angry about that, and we're angry too. I want to emphasize that no one was turned away from the polls. Some people were inconvenienced."
But to Higgins, the referendum was more than an inconvenience. He said in some instances, it was illegal, explaining that "Voters who were voting by emergency ballot were required to write their actual names on the envelopes, which is very disturbing to say the least. It's supposed to be a private ballot."
Bruce said "the BOE is making it a priority in the next few weeks to find out what went wrong and ensure that it never happens again."
As for whether or not the vote should stand, some residents want to present that question to the court system.
"I know there are many people interested in suing over the results, and I think they will certainly have a leg to stand on," Higgins said.