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County Weighted Votes To Be Adjusted

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/9/24 | 2/9/24

By Mary A. Crisafulli

SCHOHARIE - Schoharie County Board of Supervisors operates off of a weighted voting system. Weighted votes allow for county supervisors to have varied voting power based on how many residents they are voting in representation. The more residents in a town, the more votes that supervisor will receive. Weighted vote calculations are based on the United States of America census report which is conducted every 10 years.

Clerk to the Board of Supervisors Judi Beeler said it has been over 30 years since the weighted votes were calculated.

Throughout the year 2023, supervisors discussed conducting a recalculation, said Beeler. Schoharie County Attorney Michael West is currently researching a possible recalculation of supervisors weighted votes following the release of the 2020 census report. West said he has been a part of the recalculation process three times for the county. He explained that they have always used a percentage of population, around 1%, to calculate each supervisor's weighted vote. This process is simpler than hiring a company to use a more complex mathematical equation to conduct various computer modules which identify scenarios where one town might have tip a vote, explained West. Then supervisors would have a few options of weighted vote outcomes to choose from. This is the process that Delaware County recently conducted using SUNY New Paltz to conduct the recalculation. West plans to reach out to SUNY New Paltz representatives as well as Delaware County representatives to discuss the option. He said, during initial research, this type of recalculation was estimated to cost between $10,000 and $18,000.

West feels the current calculation works for Schoharie County and could be adjusted based on 2020 census data. “The way we do things is rational, it makes sense,” he said. West went on to praise the board of supervisors for the wonderful work they do stating they are usually able to discuss issues through the committee meetings and come to a reasonable understanding, leaving little weight in the weighted voting system, since generally they all agree by time the vote takes place. “It's rare that you run into an issue where we can’t use some common sense,” he said.

West hopes to have prepared recommendations for supervisors to review on a recalculation in the coming weeks.

Schoharie County is the 37th largest county in NY with 621.8 square miles and a total population of 29,714 according to the 2020 census report.

The following chart shows current weighted vote amounts with population numbers from 2000 and the new 2020 census-reported numbers. The census report from 2000 was used for comparison as the current weighted votes were likely calculated using this data. Census reports include SUNY Cobleskill students, however West said the county previously agreed to exclude college students from weighted vote calculation. It would give the town of Cobleskill too much voting power over other towns, he explained was the thought of county supervisors.





Supervisor & Town

Party Affiliation

Weighted Vote

2000 Census

2020 Census

Blenheim Supervisor Donald Airey

Republican

33

330

308

Broome Supervisor Stephen Weinhofer

Republican

95

947

862

Carlisle Supervisor John Leavitt

Republican

176

1,758

1,768

Cobleskill Supervisor Warner Hampel

Republican

481

6,407

6,086

Conesville Supervisor William Federice

Republican

73

726

687

Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer III

Republican

204

2,043

1,806

Fulton Supervisor Philip Skowfoe Jr.

Democrat

127

1,495

1,199

Gilboa Supervisor Alicia Terry

Conservative

122

1,215

1,111

Jefferson Supervisor Margaret Hait

Republican

129

1,285

1,333

Middleburgh Supervisor John Youmans

Republican

352

3,515

3,112

Richmondville Supervisor Jeffery Haslun

Republican

241

2,412

2,466

Schoharie Supervisor Alan Tavenner

Republican

326

3,299

3,107

Seward Supervisor Earlin Rosa

Republican

164

1,637

1,583

Sharon Supervisor Sandra Manko

Democrat

184

1,843

1,697

Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman

Republican

112

1,123

1,072

Wright Supervisor Alexander Luniewski

Independent

155

1,547

1,516



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