Press-Republican

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October 12, 2013

Ethics reprimand issued by Essex County

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Essex County Ethics Board has reprimanded former County Republican Election Commissioner Derinda Sherman for handing out some absentee ballots too soon.

In a stipulation of settlement just released by the Ethics Board, Sherman admitted she gave absentee ballots early to County Board of Elections employees for the 2012 general election.

“The respondent (Sherman) knowingly and voluntarily admits that she improperly provided and prematurely received on Oct. 15, 2012, absentee ballots to two Board of Elections employees,” the decision reads. “She further acknowledges that she improperly instructed the Board of Elections’ employees to hold the ballots until Oct. 24, 2012, and not to timestamp them until Oct. 24, 2012.

“Respondent further acknowledges that at the time these ballots were executed, she was aware that New York State Election Law Section 11-302 specifies that the distribution, acceptance and filing of special ballots is not permitted until two weeks prior to the election date and that two weeks prior to the election date was Oct. 23, 2012, and not Oct. 15, 2012.”

NO FINE

The original charge was filed with the Ethics Board in December 2012, according to the stipulation of settlement, with amended charges in June and a settlement in September.

Although the Ethics Board has fined other county officials it ruled had committed misdeeds, Sherman was not fined because she is no longer a county employee.

Her term as county Republican election commissioner ended when the County Board of Supervisors missed a January deadline to reappoint her. In February, Allison McGahay of Lake Placid was named to the Republican commissioner position by the Board of Supervisors.

A reason for not reappointing Sherman was not given publicly at the time.

SAYS DIDN'T KNOW

In an interview with the Press-Republican, Sherman said she lost her job because of the fracas over the absentee ballots.

“I thought I was a good person going in there and trying to correct everything in that office," she said on Friday. "They (the ballots) were never counted; they were voided. 

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