Jackie Ortiz to be next Monroe County Democratic elections commissioner 

Months of infighting among Monroe County Democrats over who would represent the party as co-commissioner of the county Board of Elections ended Saturday when party loyalists elected Jackie Ortiz to assume the post. 
click to enlarge City Council member Jackie Ortiz. - FILE PHOTO
  • City Council member Jackie Ortiz.

Ortiz, an at-large member of the Rochester City Council, will become the first Latinx person to fill the job. She is expected to step down from the council and be confirmed as commissioner by the Monroe County Legislature in the coming weeks.

The election hosted by the Monroe County Democratic Committee at Genesee Valley Park was the result of a court order, after a faction of the party successfully sued to allow members to vote for their choice of a Democratic elections commissioner.

The process of selecting a new commissioner, which became necessary when the former commissioner resigned in March, was complicated by competing party interests and the coronavirus pandemic and descended into an epic intra-party battle that spanned more than five months.

Ortiz won more than 85 percent of the weighted vote of 704 ballots cast, according to the Monroe County Democratic Committee.

She issued a statement thanking her supporters and pledging to work hard to maintain confidence in the democratic process.

“The journey to reach this election was not without its struggles, and I thank you for engaging this critical process to ensure the voice of every Monroe County Democratic Committee member was heard,” her statement read in part. “When all are able to partake in an open, transparent process, I believe we are better for it.”

Ortiz bested two other candidates, neither of which was the acting Democratic elections commissioner who was for so long at the center of the party feud.

Lashana Boose, who was appointed the Democratic deputy elections commissioner last year, ascended to the role of acting commissioner upon the resignation of the previous commissioner, Colleen Anderson.

Efforts to have Boose installed on a permanent basis were backed by a faction of the party aligned with Mayor Lovely Warren. The mayor never publicly announced her support for Boose, but she had endorsed Boose for previous elected offices and kicked the fight into high gear in April when she publicly called on the Monroe County Legislature to exercise what she believed was its right to appoint a commissioner.

A lawsuit ensued and the court sided with the plaintiffs.

Brittaney Wells, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, issued a statement saying that the election of Ortiz was a shared vision for the future among party members. She added that she looked forward to working with Ortiz and Boose.

“As Democrats, today’s special meeting (election) showed out party’s ability to innovate and collaborate, demonstrating that our differences are in fact our strength,” Wells said.

Like other county boards of elections in New York, Monroe County’s is overseen by co-commissioners representing the Democratic and Republican parties.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at [email protected] or 585-784-3507.
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