Commissioners

Commissioner Henry Berger Headshot
Henry T. Berger, Co-Chair

Henry T. Berger was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul as Co-Chair to the New York State Board of Elections on December 21, 2023. 

Mr. Berger has been an esteemed election law attorney and policy expert for more than three decades. He has worked both in the private and public sector, serving as a New York City Council member and later Special Counsel and Advisor to Mayor de Blasio from 2014 through 2018.

Mr. Berger’s legal expertise as a private practice attorney specializing in legal issues related to election law, such as campaign finance compliance and ballot access regulations, have been sought after by advocacy groups and elected officials. He has used that expertise to usher in major policy changes in New York State including the passage of Automatic Voter Registration and the creation of a statewide Public Campaign Finance program. 

From 1982 to 2000 Mr. Berger was a partner with Berger, Poppe and Janiec and then with Fisher, Fisher & Berger, working on commercial litigation, election law and labor relations for clients including health care professional unions, university professors’ associations and major state, county and city political candidates. In 1977, Mr. Berger served as a Member of the New York City Council, representing the Fourth District of Manhattan. He served on the Transportation, Parks and Economic Development committees.

Mr. Berger received a B.S. from Lehigh University in chemistry in 1967 and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1972.

Commissioner Peter Kosinski
Peter S. Kosinski, Co-Chair

Peter S. Kosinski was appointed Co-Chair of the New York State Board of Elections on April 15th, 2015 upon the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb. 

Prior to being appointed to the State Board, Commissioner Kosinski served as Special Counsel to the New York State Senate after being appointed Senior Legislative Counsel in 2008.

Before that he was Co-Executive Director of the State Board of Elections after having served as Deputy Executive Director from December of 1996. Prior to that Mr. Kosinski served as the Board's Special Counsel representing the Board in civil litigation in state and federal courts throughout the state. He first joined the staff of the Board of Elections in 1990 as the Special Deputy Counsel for Enforcement.

Commissioner Kosinski began his career in government in 1977 when he was appointed the administrative assistant to the Cattaraugus County Legislature. Two years later he was hired by Allegany County to serve in a similar capacity. During his time there, he first became involved in state government serving on the staff of then Assemblyman Richard Wesley.  Mr. Kosinski joined the staff of Assembly Minority Leader Clarence Rappleyea in 1987, acting as counsel for the minority on the codes and local government committees.

Commissioner Kosinski is a graduate of Allegheny College and Albany Law School.

Essma Bagnuola, Commissioner

Essma Bagnuola was appointed by Governor Hochul as Commissioner of the New York State Board of Elections on January 30, 2024.

Commissioner Bagnuola brings to the State Board nearly two decades of administering and overseeing state, local and federal elections.

As a senior election official and Chief Clerk of the Nassau County Board of Elections, Commissioner Bagnuola oversaw all aspects of the Board’s day-to-day operations and conduct of elections.  That included the petition process and candidate certification; ballot preparation and quality control; maintenance and testing of the county’s 1200 voting machines; and the certification of election results.  She also was responsible for maintaining the registration and voting records of more than one million voters.

Commissioner Bagnuola also established procedures for and implemented major voting changes over the years, including the advent of early voting, introduction of electronic poll books, use of absentee ballot “cure” provisions and new canvass procedures.  She managed a full-time staff of approximately 80 employees and oversaw their training, as well as the training of approximately 5000 poll workers every year.

Commissioner Anthony Casale
Anthony J. Casale, Commissioner

Anthony J. Casale was appointed Commissioner of the State Board of Elections October 21, 2020. 

Commissioner Casale is a veteran of more than fifty years’ experience in government, politics, business and higher education in New York, Florida, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and internationally. 

Mr. Casale served nine terms in the New York State Assembly from 1979 to 1995. He served on several key committees and was Chairman of the Assembly Republican Conference. In 1995, he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Liquor Authority by Governor George Pataki.

Mr. Casale's career in government and politics includes staff experience in the New York State Senate and the U. S. House of Representatives. He has been a delegate to three national conventions and has managed numerous campaigns for federal, state, and local offices.

From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Casale was Vice President and Executive Assistant to the President of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. He also served as Secretary to Lynn's Board of Trustees. He is currently a Director of the Irish American University in Dublin.

Since 2006, Mr. Casale has been a public affairs and business development advisor assisting businesses, non-profit organizations and municipalities with their government, community and media relations needs. He was previously a Director of the Herkimer County Trust Company.

A native of Herkimer, New York, Mr. Casale earned his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Albany. He is a past President of the University's Alumni Association and has served on the UAlbany Foundation. Long active in civic charitable endeavors, he has been recognized by a number of professional and civic organizations for his contributions as a public official and as a community leader.

Commissioner Casale and his wife, Theresa, are the parents of three sons and have five grandchildren. They reside in Cooperstown.

Executive Directors

Headshot of Executive Director Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky

Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky, Co-Executive Director

Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky is a graduate of Skidmore College (Cum Laude), where she studied anthropology and art history. She received a Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law and earned her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Kristen was active in democratic government for over thirty years. In 2011, she was unanimously elected Chairwoman of the Rockland Democratic Committee. Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky was honored to be re-elected, also unanimously, in 2012, 2016, 2018, and 2020. She served four years as second vice chair on the Committee’s Executive Board and as a committeewoman from 1988 until 2021. Kristen served three terms as Secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee. She previously served as Assistant Secretary.

In 2012, the Rockland Democratic Committee unanimously recommended Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky to serve as Democratic Commissioner of Elections. She was appointed by the Legislature and served until July 2020. During her years as Commissioner, Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky was an active member of the New York State Election Commissioners Association. Kristen served four years on the Association’s Legislative Committee and as an officer, most recently as 1st Vice President. She has presented on various topics at the Association’s conferences, including canvassing ballots and commissioners’ rights. Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky also presented election law and reform to numerous organizations, including The New York State Association of Counties and the New York Democratic Lawyers’ Council.

Kristen served seven years on the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Rockland, including two terms as Vice President and one as President. Kristen has been an active and involved member of the Rockland County community for many years, volunteers for numerous organizations, and is a past board member of the JCC of Rockland. Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky is also a proud life member of Hadassah and the NAACP.

Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky possesses administrative and managerial experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, including service on the staff of Rockland Community College and as Administrative Coordinator of the Graduate School at the Bank Street College of Education.

On July 31, 2021, Ms. Zebrowski Stavisky was appointed Co-Executive Director of the State Board of Elections. Subsequently, the Governor designated Kristen New York’s Chief Election Official. She is a member of the National Association of State Election Directors and the National Association of Secretaries of State.


Executive Director Raymond Riley
Raymond J. Riley III, Co-Executive Director

Raymond J. Riley, III was appointed Co-Executive director of the New York State Board of Elections on April 21, 2023. A native of New York City, Raymond grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Raymond spent six years as The Chief Clerk of the Brooklyn office of the New York City Board of Elections. The borough office is responsible for all election operations in Kings County, the largest voting jurisdiction in the State of New York, with more than 1.5 million registered voters.

A 20-year veteran of politics and government, Raymond has worked and advised both candidates for and elected members of local, state, and federal office. He has been active in local Brooklyn politics since 2001, serving as both Parliamentarian and Secretary of the Kings County Republican Party. Raymond served on the 2008 Presidential Campaign for then US Senator John McCain, worked for former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former State Senator Martin J. Golden.

During his time with the New York City Board, Raymond managed a full-time staff of over 200 employees and a temporary poll worker pool of just under 15,000. Raymond helped establish city wide procedures for early voting (2019), expanded absentee voting (2020), as well as implemented New York State’s new canvass procedures (2022).  Raymond has a bachelor’s degree in history and is a member of the National Association of State Election Directors.

Mission

The State Board of Elections was established in the Executive Department June 1, 1974 as a bipartisan agency vested with the responsibility for administration and enforcement of all laws relating to elections in New York State.

The Board is also responsible for regulating disclosure and limitations of a Fair Campaign Code intended to govern campaign practices. In conducting these wide-ranging responsibilities, the Board offers assistance to local election boards and investigates complaints of possible statutory violations.

In addition to the regulatory and enforcement responsibilities the board is charged with the preservation of citizen confidence in the democratic process and enhancement in voter participation in elections.

The State Board of Elections is also committed to providing accessible information to individuals with disabilities, including voters, members of the public, candidates, media and treasurers.