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Court sides with Dems on election commissioner spat

Loren Kent

Loren Kent will not be able to serve as the next Democratic Elections Commissioner for the Chautauqua County Board of Elections, unless he gets the backing of county Democrats and not just the Democratic county legislators.

The Hon. Lynn W. Keane has ruled that the Chautauqua County Legislature must appoint someone whom the county Democratic Committee recommends.

In March, the county legislature appointed Kent to the position, to fill the vacancy with the retirement of Norman P. Green. Last year the county Democratic Committee, in a narrow vote, recommended Luz Torres. Torres, who at the time was the Deputy Democratic Election Commissioner, was selected over Kent, who was the secretary of the county Democratic Party. Green has since stepped down from the position and announced his intention to run for county executive and Torres has been serving as the acting Democratic Election Commissioner.

After the county legislature did not appoint Torres, Green’s name was submitted to remain in the position but he was not appointed either. His name was submitted to remain as election commissioner before he announced his intention to run for office. Judge Keane declined to rule if Green could be the election commissioner or not since he is a political candidate.

A third name – Doris Parment – has also been submitted to the county legislature for consideration, however she was not considered as well. Parment served as the Deputy Democratic Election Commissioner before leaving in February 2018, due to sickness, and Torres took over the deputy position.

When the county legislature listed Kent to be appointed as Democratic Election Commissioner on its agenda in March, Green filed an appeal in state Supreme Court to block it. When the legislature did appoint Kent, the resolution stated it was not to be filed until the state supreme court case was settled.

Keane heard the case virtually on April 26 and issued her ruling on Friday.

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