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October 24, 2013

Hike in absentee ballots concerns Republicans

PLATTSBURGH — Republican candidates for City of Plattsburgh Common Council seats are concerned that there may be untoward actions involving absentee ballots.

Michael Drew, who is running as a Republican for the Ward 2 seat, and Dale Dowdle, the Republican contender for Ward 3, say they think many of the absentee-ballot applications issued so far this election season may have been falsely filled out.

“This could definitely impact the outcome of the elections,” Drew said.

SOARING NUMBERS

Drew and Dowdle noted that the number of absentee-ballot applications is up more than 500 percent in some parts of the city over the 2010 election.

Getting more people to vote, whether it be in person or by absentee ballot, is fine, they say, but the rules must be followed.

“There are way more out there than all of 2010, and we still have two weeks to go,” Drew said.

According to figures from the Clinton County Board of Elections, in Ward 1, there have been 118 applications handed in so far, up from 30 (393 percent higher) in all of the 2010 election. Ward 2 has seen 36 applications, up from 7 (514 percent higher), and in Ward 3, there are 63, up from 12 (525 percent higher).

“When you see the amount of absentee applications going up this much, there has to be a red flag,” Drew said.

ALLOWED REASONS

The applications have six boxes listing reasons voters can submit an absentee ballot:

▶ Being out of the county on Election Day.

▶ Temporary illness, permanent illness or physical disability.

▶ Duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.

▶ Being a patient or inmate in a Veterans Administration hospital or detention in jail/prison awaiting trial.

▶ Awaiting action by a grand jury or in prison for conviction of a crime or offense that was not a felony.

STUDENTS AWAY?

Drew and Dowdle said that on many of the applications, the voters checked off a box that indicates they will be out of the county on Election Day. Many of those are from students at SUNY Plattsburgh who live in the dormitories.

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