CUNY campus president's pre-election message: 'Tempting' to think NY will go for Biden, not important to vote, but 'that is not the case'
New York State officials are not allowed to use their positions to “coerce, intimidate or influence” others into acting differently in an election.
The president of Lehman College, a CUNY campus, encouraged recipients of an email to vote, even though it is “tempting to think that New York’s electoral votes will go Democratic.”
Lehman College President Daniel Lemons admonished students to vote, even though it "may be tempting to think that New York’s electoral votes will go Democratic and therefore voting isn’t as important here."
In an October message to students at Lehman College, a City University of New York campus, Lemons discussed the importance of civic engagement, citing how President Donald Trump "tacitly encouraged the violent and white nationalist-favoring group," the Proud Boys.
Lemons strongly encouraged recipients to register to vote, encouraging them on the specifics of requesting absentee and mail-in ballots. He warned students not to assume the results in the state of New York.
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“It may be tempting to think that New York’s electoral votes will go Democratic and therefore voting isn’t as important here, but that is not the case,” Lemons said. “Given the way doubt has been cast on the upcoming election, it is important that voter turnout is high so there can be no doubt about the will of the people, whatever that is.”
New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics regulations explain that “no person can use his or her official State position to coerce, intimidate or influence other State officers or employees for any political purpose, action or contribution, or interfere with any election.”
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Additionally, “no State officer or employee shall corruptly use or promise to use any official authority or influence in exchange for political action on another’s part.”
Campus Reform reached out to Lehman College for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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