Water poured through a hole in the Cornwall High School roof.

A tornado touched down in Newburgh.

Tuesday's storm toppled trees, blocked roads and caused widespread power outages throughout the region.

The state-of-emergency declarations started that afternoon, but the school election polls stayed open.

Eldred was the only district in the region to halt voting, prompted by an abundance of caution.

"The state (education) department basically said it was a local decision, and they had no guidance for us," Eldred Superintendent John Morgano said. "And the board of elections said basically, 'We give you the machine. That’s our only involvement.'”

Eldred’s election is rescheduled for June 19, and all ballots cast Tuesday were destroyed, Morgano said.

In the Pine Bush School District, poll workers moved machines to a safer location within the high school, Superintendent Tim Mains said Tuesday evening.

"We have a legal responsibility to conduct this election," Mains said. "We have no authority to (close polls).”

Newburgh’s polls stayed open because the district wasn’t authorized to close them, said Cassie Sklarz, communications strategist.

And that’s technically true.

Education law does not give authority to school districts to stop an election. In fact, it doesn’t give that authority to any board or governing body, said Jay Worona, deputy executive director and general counsel for the New York State School Boards Association.

“There was no playbook to follow. It’s nonexistent,” Worona said. “ … There is the argument to be made that there’s no authority to be made to close the polls.”

Education law includes provisions on when a rescheduled election should be held, but does not speak to how or why an election can be postponed, Worona said.

In Worona’s 34 years in education law, it’s the first time the situation has come up.

For voters, the only recourse is to file a petition with the commissioner of education, he said.

Sarah Faurot, a Pine Bush resident, plans to do just that.

Faurot planned to vote after work, but the extreme-weather alert pinged on her phone immediately after she got home.

She wasn’t about to venture out during a state of emergency to vote, she said.

“I think that’s wrong, to sit there and think that this vote is acceptable when there’s a good amount of people who wanted to go out to vote and couldn’t,” she said. “We had a right to vote and it was denied.”

Mamakating Supervisor Bill Herrmann said the situation put districts in a tough position, but he believes that the people who were able to vote were likely a representative sample, so the weather probably didn't alter the outcome of elections.

“People were really restricted from coming out to vote,” he said. “It’s a shame.”

aspadaro@th-record.com

mnanci@th-record.com