Column: What did you just vote for?

Mayor-MarvinAs you read this, you may have just colored in your paper ballot circles for election for various county, town and judicial offices, as well as a record six New York State Constitutional Amendments.

As a caution, the Amendme­nts were on the flip side of the absentee ballot and very easy to miss.

As point of reference, the electronic scanner paper ballots are here to stay per New York State Law. The only exception is the upcoming March village election, which qualified for a one-year extension on lever machine use. In 2010, New York actually became the last state to switch to electronic voting in compliance with federal law.

In my opinion, the new technology seems like a step backward from the admittedly 19th century technology of the lever machine to a system that requires poll workers to copy voters’ information by hand from one piece of paper to another.

Top on the ballot was voting for a county executive of Westchester. Named after the City of Chester, England, Westchester was founded in 1683 and encompasses 500 square miles and 45 municipalities. According to the 2010 census, Westchester has 949,113 residents, approximately 254,000 of which belong to the Democratic Party and 134,000 are registered Republicans. The office of county executive was created in 1937 when voters approved a new county charter giving Westchester County an executive branch to complement the legislative county Board of Legislators.

Since its inception, the county executive seat has been held by eight men, six Republicans and two Democrats.

The county executive is elected at-large in the general election held the year following the presidential election. The term of office is four years and no one can serve for more than three consecutive four-year terms. The current county executive’s salary is $160,760. To run for the office, an individual has to be a citizen of the county for a minimum of five years prior. Compensation is fixed by the county Board of Legislators.

The county executive is the chief executive and administrative officer of Westchester County and some of his/her main duties include the supervision of the administrative services and departments of the county; presentation of an annual budget to the county board and communication of a general statement of the finances and affairs of county government to the county board at a minimum of once a year. The county executive does have a veto power as well as the right to appoint the head of every county department and office, subject to confirmation by the county board.

In a strange twist of fate, because many Westchester residents are choosing not to affiliate with either the Republican or Democratic part­ies, the Independence Party has taken on unprecedented influen­ce. The party was first formed in the 1990s by Ross Perot and, in New York, spearheaded by Tom Golisano. Though, less than 4 percent of county voters belong to this party, many unaffiliated or independent voters think this is their line on which to vote. The small change in word ending from Independence to independent has translated into a party to be reckoned with.

Representing approximately 50,000 people in Bronxville and Yonkers, Bronxville’s representative on the county Board of Elections was also up for election. A county legislator serves for a two-year term. A key power of the county board concerns finances, appropriating funds, approving the budget and levying taxes. The board has 17 members, 10 of which are Democrats and seven Republicans. The current base salary is $49,200.

Currently, village taxpayers contribute $8.1 million as our share of the county budget.

Next on the ballot for election was the county district attorney. Bronxville resident Janet DiFiore ran for her second four-year term and is unopposed.

Countywide voting requires the election of a county clerk. The duties of this office include managing all of the county land records, overseeing the licensing of plumbers and electricians, facilitating the passport application process and naturalization of new citizens.

Continuing down the ballot was the election of an Eastchester town supervisor. The office is up for election every two years with no term limits and a current salary of $98,093.

As chief executive officer of the town, the supervisor directs day-to-day operations and coordinates the activity of town department heads. The supervisor proposes policies and projects for consideration by the town board. As a town board member, the supervisor’s vote has the same weight as those of the other four board members. The supervisor acts as treasurer of the town, works with the town budget officer to prepare the initial draft of the town budget and is the only authorized signature for payroll and town checks.

Two Town Council seats were also up for election for a two-year term. The current representatives are running unopposed.

Bronxville Village elections are the third Tuesday in March of 2014.

I hope all of you exercised your right to vote.