Think Your Vote Doesn’t Count? Village Of South Blooming Grove Incumbent Candidates Ousted!

By Edie Johnson

Residents of the Village of South Blooming Grove are in shock this morning as the new Hasidic residents in their village succeeded last night in becoming a majority of the  Village Board.  Mayor Jim LoFranco said they will definitely be doing a recount and will check the validity of every single vote. But there would have to be 113 votes invalidated to even get to a tie.  Two Trustees, John Ross and Johnny Belfast were not yet up for re-election.

Mayoral & Trustee Votes
Mayor Jim LoFranco – 433
George Kalaj – 546

Vitzchok Feldman – 518
Abraham Weiss – 522

Sue Anne Vogelsburg – 426
Patricia Morrice – 369
LaShanta Stevens- 15

Residents lined up in front of the VSBG Independence  Fire Department adjacent to the Village of Blooming Grove Town Hall all afternoon and evening, at times reaching Route 208.  Several chairs were set out for seniors to rest during the long wait.   At 11:30 pm the line still continued to the end of the Fire Department lot.

At 11am this morning  Mayor LoFranco called and said that the count was done and the news was not good for him and his fellow board members.  He said he is proud of the work he has done in getting a filtration system to solve the village’s water problems, renovating the Village Hall, and all that he has done to care of his residents during the pandemic.

Was COVID-19 a factor in keeping other residents at home or unable to register to vote?  Did residents think their vote didn’t matter? In the end there were at least 2,000 residents in the village who did not come out to vote. With campaign teams having visited just about every residence in the Village, and the date and time well publicized,  it is unlikely that anyone did not vote because they did not know that the election was happening.

Apparently nearly every Hasidic resident went to the effort to get register, to get to the polls, and they voted. Unless over 100 votes are invalidated, the Hasidic community will have the major say in future decisions of the Village of South Blooming Grove. 

Rabbi Yoel Loeb and other members of his “Peace and Justice Coalition” were at the voting site several times on election day to support Mayor Jim LoFranco and encourage cooperation.

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