HEMPSTEAD - A longtime member of Hempstead's school board is being forced to step down, for now, by order of the state education commissioner.

The state education commissioner says Betty Cross cannot serve while the state investigates allegations of voter fraud in May's school board election. Residents and Maribel Toure, the candidate who lost to Cross, petitioned the commissioner to open an investigation.

Toure and her supporters claim suspicious absentee ballots helped ensure Cross' victory over Toure by a four-vote margin.

The Hempstead school board says it will comply with the education commissioner's decision.