Dow tapped for vote chief

File photoColumbia County Board of Elections, 401 State St.

HUDSON — Attorney Ken Dow was selected as the county Democratic Party’s choice for election commissioner in a caucus nomination Thursday.

The nomination will go before the Columbia County Board of Supervisors for a vote. Dow is in line to replace Virginia Martin, who has been serving on a holdover basis since Jan. 1.

Dow was previously Democratic Election Commissioner from 2005 to 2008 when he resigned to run for the state Senate. He also graduated from Albany Law School at that time. Dow has also served as an attorney for several municipalities including the Copake Planning Board and Village of Chatham.

The election commissioner is appointed to a two-year term. Two commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican, lead the Columbia County Board of Elections full-time. The commissioners are responsible for all aspects of elections in the city of Hudson, towns and county and assist some villages and school districts with their elections. Three full-time staffers report to each of the commissioners.

“Ken represents real experience in both the Board of Elections and in Election Law,” Columbia County Democratic Committee Chairman Keith Kanaga said in a statement on Thursday. “In this year of important elections, including presidential, his leadership is critically important in delivering fair elections. We are excited to recommend him for this post.”

The Columbia County Democratic Committee regrouped to select a new nominee for county Election Commissioner after the county Board of Supervisors opted not to appoint Democrat Virginia Martin to another term in December after nearly a decade of holding the post.

Other candidates for consideration were Mark Young, co-owner of Mexican Radio; Erin Stamper, Democratic Election Specialist; and Penny Panoulias, secretary of the Clermont Democratic Committee.

Dow won in a weighted vote of caucus members, 56% to 42%, against Stamper, the other finalist.

Thursday’s vote comes after a tumultuous end to a voting season in which full results in some races were not available until days and, in some cases, weeks after the election.

The next full board meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors is Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at 401 State St.

Kelly Miller Simmons was tapped for Republican election commissioner after a vote at the organizational meeting on Jan. 6 after Jason Natske opted not to be considered for the position once it was switched from part-time to full-time.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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