It's hard to believe, but the 2024 election season is in full swing already, and this year will be very busy. 2024 is a Presidential election year, so there will be a lot of buzz, not to mention that the House of Representatives has an election this year as well. Today, there will be at least four opportunities for people in Western New York to vote this year with two primary elections, a Congressional special election, and the November general election.

Needless to say, voters will have a lot to do this year.

It will be even busier for the residents of Cheektowaga as the town has been accused of violating the voting rights of its citizens, and the town board may be forced to do something about it.

Cheektowaga Accused of Violating The Rights Of Its Minority Voters

Like other cities, towns, and villages in New York State, Cheektowaga uses an at-large voting method when electing members to the Town Board. Essentially, Cheektowaga does not have any pre-defined districts or wards. All those seeking to serve on the Town Board run in the same election, and the top 6 vote-getters are elected. This is how Cheektowaga has done things since its inception, however that practice is being called into question by one town resident due to the racial makeup of the town.

According to an article written by the Buffalo News, a complaint has been filed against the town of Cheektowaga, accusing them of violating New York State's John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.

In the complaint, Ken Young alleges the town is racially charged and that town officials are aware that the town is racially segregated and has chosen not to do anything about it.

It’s not your fault that the town does not want to elect a minority... But it is your fault to not put wards in so that a minority can be elected.
-Ken Young

Young, who has run for town board before, is requesting the town implement a district or ward system like in Buffalo and other Western New York municipalities.

Cheektowaga Sets Date For Public Hearing Surrounding Complaint

New York State's John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act requires town officials to hold a public hearing in response to the complaint. Two have been scheduled by town officials:

  • Hearing 1,
    • Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at 7 pm at the Cheektowaga Town Court, 3223 Union Road. The hearing will be in Courtroom 2
  • Hearing 2,
    • Saturday, February 24, 2024, at 9 am at the Cheektowaga Town Court, 3223 Union Road. The hearing will be in Courtroom 2

Town residents will have the opportunity to discuss the complaints allegations with town officials. If you can't make the hearing, written comments can be filed with the Cheektowaga Town Clerk.

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