(See the April 25 News-Review newspaper for a full, updated report.)
The Riverhead School District was one of 12 Long Island school districts named in a Sunday Newsday report about schools purchasing special software last year that allegedly aims to influence voter turnout during budget votes.
According to the Newsday report, the program is touted as being able to “track voter turnout in real time, and gives districts the ability to generate call lists of key voting blocs.”
The process of a public entity influencing voter turnout in this manner is against state election laws, though some school officials in the news report denied the program is used in such a manner.
When contacted by the News-Review, Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney issued the following statement via email:
“Here at Riverhead, we use Bold solely as an electronic database for voter registration and management. If we did not have the system, we would have to keep the voter database by hand using the old ‘buff card’ books. We have about 24,000 registered voters. Keeping this all straight with cards would be an unnecessary use of time and resources.
“With the Bold system, we have an electronic database that is automatically updated from the Board of Elections when people move into the district, move out of the district, or move within the district. It is also automatically updated with newly registered voters and with the names of deceased voters.
“We do not use the system to attempt to influence the outcome of the election.”
School board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse was not immediately available for comment.