Letter to the Editor: Thoughts on the Referendum to Move the Sleepy Hollow Village Election Date to November

When I first considered the referendum, I was all for it. At first glance it just makes sense. More people will vote and that can’t be bad, right? The more I thought about it though, the more questions came up about the very real implications making this change will bring about, changes I don’t really support.

I am a life-long democrat. On a national, level I have never voted for a republican. I must admit I have crossed the line for judges from time to time, but for the most part, I walk into a booth on election day and vote straight party line. Look, I always know who’s running for president, who’s running for governor, who’s running for senate, who’s running for congressman, and who’s running for State senate and assembly.  And I only know those last two because I’ve been involved with Westchester democratic politics for decades. When it comes to the other five or six lines for family court judge or district attorney, etc., I vote the party line. I just don’t have the time or interest to learn enough about these candidates to make an informed decision.

On a local level everything changes for me. My neighbors are of all political persuasions. I don’t care to know or “get into it” with them. Our interests are the same when it comes to our neighborhood and village.  We want and need competent dedicated neighbors to step up and fill roles on the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Board of Trustees, etc. A few years ago, the democratic party decimated the republican party here in Sleepy Hollow.  Then the democrats turned on each other. It got ugly. That is not what I want from my neighbors and friends. So, I helped found the Unite Sleepy Hollow party, which is committed to the village, not to any “political” agenda. USH has run democrats, republicans, and independent party registered candidates, but we just don’t care about that, we care about the willingness to bring your expertise to the table and work on behalf of all.

One of the arguments in favor has been it cost us money. This is not really true; the Village does not pay for March election administration. The other major argument is that more people will actually vote. Objectively may be true, but does that really mean more people are involved and care? I have heard absurdly low turnout numbers banded about, but the fact is that in contested elections, we get fairly decent turnout.  It has only been in uncontested elections that turnout is paltry, and why is this bad? It is actually an affirmation that the village is united for that given moment.

The bottom line is that I think moving our village elections to November will kill the Unite Sleepy Hollow party and it will kill the TAG party.  I think most of us will pull our own party line because that’s what we do. I think that’s awful for Sleepy Hollow. So, I’m voting against the referendum. I hope you’ll think this through and reach the same conclusion.

David Schroedel
Sleepy Hollow
Former Village Trustee 2008-2012

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