KINGSTON – Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright will not criminally prosecute New Paltz Mayor Jason West for voting in the village after he moved out.
West told Carnright that he had consulted an attorney to determine if he could still vote if he was living outside the village.
“That attorney, apparently not well versed in the Election Law, advised the mayor that since he was only temporarily out of the election district and intended to return there he could lawfully vote,” the DA said.
Carnright said had he been tasked with ruling on West’s vote, he would have determined it to be invalid. The mayor, who had been evicted from his previous residence, has now moved back to New Paltz.
But, before decided not to prosecute, Carnright said he conferred with the State Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and that agency said it was not going to review his decision.
While it is a felony to vote in an election when the person is not qualified to do so by reason of not living in the district, the question in this case was whether West knowingly and unlawfully voted in the May village election when he was not qualified to do so since he no longer lived in the village.
West cooperated in the investigation and admitted to moving out of New Paltz in January, but said he had always intended to return and considered that his ‘legal’ residence, for the purpose of voting, remained in the village. To support that claim, West told Carnright he had been living in various temporary locations with friends in the village.