Politics and Elections

November 17, 2013

Alleged voter-fraud case ongoing

Absentee ballots to be opened under tight scrutiny

PLATTSBURGH — The investigation into allegations of voter fraud continues as Clinton County Board of Elections officials prepare to count absentee ballots.

City Police have interviewed voters and elections officials and examined documents at the Board of Elections, according to Police Chief Desmond Racicot.

“We received a complaint, and we will do a thorough investigation, just like we do with every case,” Racicot said.

Republican candidates are charging that possibly hundreds of absentee ballots may have been improperly cast in the Nov. 5 election.

They claim that members of the Working Families Party may have contributed to voters falsely filling out applications for absentee ballots.

Many of the ballot applications were marked that the voter would be out of town on Election Day, but, in several instances, that was not the case, according to some of the people who filled out the applications.

Republicans also believe that, in some cases, voters just signed the actual absentee ballot and other people marked the votes for them.

Working Families Party officials and candidates have denied any wrongdoing.

Incumbent Republican County Legislator Mark Dame filed the complaint with City Police.

Dame leads Democrat Robert Dolan in the Area 8 race by 192 votes, with 221 absentee ballots to be counted Monday.

Dolan told the Press-Republican that he had nothing to do with collecting absentee ballots and that he was not endorsed by the Working Families Party. 

Dame said he will have an attorney on hand at the ballot count, which starts Monday, and that he will challenge every absentee ballot that was hand-delivered to the Board of Elections.

“We need to get to the bottom of this scam,” he said.

Racicot said he could not comment further on the investigation but said police have spoken with District Attorney Andrew Wylie’s office about the case.

Wylie said he could not comment on the case, as it is ongoing.

Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Greg Campbell said their office has been cooperating with police in the investigation.

The absentee-ballot count could take several days, as more than 1,100 absentees and 165 affidavit ballots must be counted countywide.

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