Write-In Campaign in Pleasantville Empowered Residents to Vote

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This September, I conducted a write-in campaign pursuing a seat on the Village Board. The decision to run was independent of my role as a School Board trustee. I ran as an individual resident of the village. The action was vetted by lawyers and was deemed to have no legal, ethical or conflict of interest issues associated with it. I used a legal write-in process for the exact purpose for which it was created – to allow voters to support someone not on the ballot. I did so due to the lack of transparency regarding the village election. To insinuate otherwise is a form of voter suppression.

The Feb 10th Village Board meeting was the first time the election was discussed – a mere two days before the petition deadline. One trustee announced he would not be running for re-election, important information for a resident only considering running if there is an open seat. Another trustee whose term was also up said nothing.

My write-in campaign empowered people to vote in an election many didn’t even know was happening. The pandemic doesn’t alleviate the critical obligation of the Village to broadly notify residents in a multi-tiered fashion about an election, let alone excuse the overreach in telling residents they don’t need to vote, as was implied by the Mayor in the October 20th Examiner article.

My ability to garner 114 votes in three days is indicative of a bigger transparency issue. Other examples include:

  • The $2 million Memorial Plaza project and continued disregard of community feedback, including a survey which showed many residents’ great concern with the project.
  • The ongoing need to address the disrepair at the Pleasantville pool and the way the summer closure was addressed in an unrecorded work session and Board meeting where it wasn’t on the agenda.

If the Village Board is truly committed to increasing openness and transparency, the following recommendations would be an excellent start. I ask the Board to consider:

  • Recording all work session discussions.
  • Finding better and more inclusive ways to solicit community input regarding projects. Even though a community vote on capital projects isn’t required for the Village, they can conduct advisory propositions or find other broad approaches to collect feedback.
  • Ensure petition deadlines and election information are well publicized and announced in a timely manner through multiple communication channels.

Although not successful in my attempt to serve residents of the village on the board, I’ll consider my effort successful if it shines a light on these issues and people work together to address them.

I have been volunteering in Pleasantville for 20 years. Service to this amazing community is at my core. I will proudly continue working to serve the children of this school district as a Board of Education member. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact me directly.

Angela Vella
Pleasantville

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