BALLSTON SPA — Election Night coverage. A portion of a Terrorism Prevention Program grant this year will afford Saratoga County law enforcement funding to providing for the potential security of polling places and other election related matters.
In total, the $69,500 grant is via the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, for a 2020 State Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (SLETPP) Grant. SLETPP is a sub-grantee of the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP). The funds pay for enhanced counter terrorism and response programs that include things like training programs, night vision equipment, and unmanned aerial systems equipment.
A portion of the grant - $14,000 - will specifically target operation overtime for security of polling places and “election related matters” for the county Sheriff’s Department that begins with this election season and goes through Aug. 31, 2023.
“That’s brand new and the $14,000 is for three years,” Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said regarding the election-related component. “I don’t know why it’s in there - the state came up with that so I have no idea - but it was a pre-requisite for the grant, so if we need to utilize extra personnel, we can do that and utilize the monies that were put in the grant.”
At its most recent meeting, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors introduced a resolution authorizing an agreement with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to accept the $69,500 state law enforcement terrorism prevention program grant. Willard Peck of Northumberland, John Lant of Wilton, John Lawler of Waterford, Darren O’Connor of Malta, Jean Raymond of Edinburg, Matthew Veitch of Saratoga Springs and Arthur Wright of Hadley were the supervisors who introduced the resolution. The agreement is subject to the approval of the County Attorney.
In the past, the Sheriff’s Department has been involved in things such as picking up and delivering absentee ballots from rural areas to the county Board of Elections on occasion.
“We’ll work with our Board of Election here to see what they need on Election Night. This is new so were in the planning stages at this time,” Zurlo said. “We’ll see what type of plan they come up with - if we need to go to polling places throughout the county, it may be ballots being picked up. I’m waiting to hear from them to see what type of plan they have in place and then that’ll tell me how many people I need.”