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The November 6 election: Every Vote Counted


I was as invested in the election of Ceclia Tkaczyk to our NY State Senate as I was in any race this past November. Among other attributes, Cecilia was serving as VP of her school board in Duanesburg (near Albany) at the time of her campaign, and at a point where NY school districts have been restricted by Governor Cuomo in terms of the taxes they can raise to provide programming, have been hit with several years of cuts in funding, and are quite literally being strangled financially under the weight of new mandates, we need someone in Albany who understand what we are going through. (Some of you may know I serve on my local, Onteora School Board.)

It’s not my idea of community representation either: the new New York 46th Senate District, as drawn up by the Republicans. A Democrat won by 18 votes. 

Tkaczyk was not meant to win: our new cigar-shaped District had been re-drawn by and for the Republicans. And when she upset the pollsters and the initial count proved too close to call, her opponent appealed to a judge not to count absentee ballots on technicalities that reminded many of Dade County 2000, including the rejection of ballots by poll workers (who are volunteers, ffs)! Fortunately an appeals court overturned this decision and yesterday, Tkaczyk was sworn in to her Senate seat. Her margin of victory? 18 votes.

I’m glad now that I urged everyone I knew in her district to vote for her, and I’m glad that we turned out in the numbers that we did. It’s a significant victory in so many ways: proof that gerry-mandering doesn’t always work, that a grass-roots campaign can overcome big money, and that the law can indeed come down on the side of democracy. (Plus, we get someone who understands the issues around housing and education and fracking.) Remember all of this when your next election rolls around and you wonder if it’s worth your while stopping by the polling station. Congratulations, Cecilia. Now the hard work begins.

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