County clerks balk at driver's license plan

She and about a dozen other Republican clerks said they would not enforce Spitzer's policy, even though they would be in violation of the law and susceptible to lawsuits by whomever they denied a license.

John J. Woodward, the clerk of Schenectady County and a Democrat, said he will enforce the governor's policy and that partisan politics is the real issue in this debate.

As a New Yorker, Woodward said there are things about the policy he likes and things he dislikes. But as a county clerk, his position is much clearer:

"The bottom line is I have no choice when it comes to this policy. I would be violating my oath of office if I didn't uphold the law," he said. "I'm sure some of my constituents may not be happy about that, but I've got to choose what's legal over politics."

The Republican legislators in Schenectady County disagree with their clerk.

"As Republicans, we take the safety of the people of our community and state very seriously", Schenectady County Legislator James Buhrmaster stated. "Our county, state and nation have spent billions to improve the security of all Americans and to identify those who might wish to harm us. We publicly ask the governor to reconsider this unlawful and ill-conceived action. He should know we will not stand idly by as he tries to do by decree, what the law does not permit."

Spitzer says the policy will create safer streets, lower insurance rates and make the country safer.

"This policy change helps bolster homeland security by bringing more individuals into the system and, when necessary, assisting law enforcement efforts to locate those who present a real security threat," he said in a Sept. 21 written statement.

Law enforcement officials are hesitant to make an official statement on the policy itself, but some have chimed in with how it would affect their operations.

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