Calls on Manor candidates to commit to referendum to move village elections to November

To the editor:

This is an open letter to Pelham Manor Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey and trustees A. Michelle DeLillo and Joseph Senerchia, and candidates Ramsey McGrory, Andrea Ziegelman and Lance Koonce.

Even in this age of partisan politics, one thing most of us agree on is the importance of safeguarding the integrity of our democracy. It is up to each of us to protect democratic principles, especially at local levels where we must do this work for ourselves. Currently, the Village of Pelham Manor Board of Trustees elections are held in March, and candidates are chosen at caucuses by a handful of party insiders. Oversight of the elections is provided by our local election commissioner, a paid position that reports directly to the board whose membership is determined by these same elections.

It is anti-democratic for whichever party has control to not only be a player in the game but also the referee. We can fix this by voting to move our village elections to Election Day in November, securing its integrity with bipartisan county oversight.

Moving village elections to November means:

  • Increased voter participation
  • Early voting
  • Transparent primaries in place of caucuses
  • Bipartisan election oversight
  • Aligns with Village of Pelham, town, county, state and federal elections
  • Guaranteed time off to vote
  • A small cost savings for the village

In 2018 we, along with over 700 of our neighbors, petitioned the Village of Pelham Manor under New York State Election Law to allow the citizens of the Manor to decide by referendum the question of moving the village elections to November. The petitions were rejected by the election commissioner on trivial technical grounds. And despite the widespread bipartisan support for a vote on the matter, the board has refused to use its authority to directly place the referendum on the ballot.

Incumbents and challengers, will you each publicly pledge to protect our democracy and, if elected, allow your constituents to decide by referendum whether to move the Village of Pelham Manor elections to Election Day in November?

Alexy Scholl and Michael Teitelbaum

1076 Grant Ave.