NYS Education Department Denies Hempstead School Board's Appeal to Overturn Election Results

February 19, 2016

HEMPSTEAD, NY — The Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington has announced that the New York State Department of Education has denied an appeal by the Hempstead School District Board of Education to invalidate the election results which named Maribel Touré and Gwendolyn Jackson as the winners. The court found that the claims were unsupportable that the two candidates engaged in financial misconduct and electioneering.

On May 19, 2015, Ms. Touré and Ms. Jackson were elected to the Hempstead School District Board of Education with 678 and 500 votes, respectively. The following day, the Board held a special meeting, in which they voted to annul the election results and decided to appeal to the NYS Education Department. On July 1, 2015, the appeal was denied.

The board filed another appeal to have the results annulled. In its petition, the board claimed that Ms. Touré and Ms. Jackson submitted campaign expenditure reports containing improprieties and other irregularities. The Education Department ruled that, even if that were the case, it would not have affected the election. The board also accused both candidates of electioneering in front of the school and unduly influencing Spanish-speaking residents to vote for Ms. Touré and Ms. Jackson. However, the board failed to produce any specifics, any evidence or the names of any persons they claimed to be involved in this alleged incident, the Education Department denied the appeal. Claims of electioneering were also not proven, The Education Department also ruled that there was no proof that, even if the alleged electioneering occurred, it influenced the outcome of the election.

On February 16, 2016, MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner, New York State Education Department, wrote in her decision: “In light of the fact that both the district’s 2014 and 2015 elections have now been subject to challenge, I remind the district and the board of their obligation to comply with the decision and order in Appeal of Touré, et al., including the obligation to conduct all school board elections in accordance with all applicable provisions of law and regulation, and I urge the district and the board to take all steps necessary to ensure that such controversy does not continue and that the district’s leadership and resources are focused on the paramount goal of providing successful outcomes for students.”

Supported by the community and members of The Corridor Counts, Inc., Frederick K. Brewington of The Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington represented Ms. Touré and Ms. Jackson. For more information, call (516) 489-6959.