Press-Republican

In My Opinion

November 2, 2013

In My Opinion: Concerns raised about absentee ballots

As an elections commissioner, it is my responsibility, as it is of everyone who works at the Clinton County Board of Elections to uphold the integrity of the voting process.

It is something the state of New York and all its citizens expect and demand of us.

I have obviously been following the events that have now been the subject of two major articles in the Press-Republican with more than a casual interest.

The information I am relaying in this submission is based on conversations I have personally had with approximately 40 registered voters in the City of Plattsburgh who have requested absentee ballots and is in no way based on an opinion of this commissioner.

I am not making any accusations of wrongdoing against any of the parties involved, simply restating the conversations with these voters.

The voters I talked with were approached by members of the Working Families Party to apply for absentee ballots and were told they could vote now and not have to go to the polls on Election Day.

In many cases, the solicitor filled out the application, had the voter sign it and marked the reason for requesting the ballot to indicate that the person would be out of the county on Election Day. If the voter had not so indicated that would be the case to the solicitor, that could be a violation of the Election Law, Section 8-400.

At a later date, either that same person or another member of the Working Families Party returned with their ballot and on some occasions, according to the voters, helped them fill it out and then left with the ballot. This may have simply been helping them understand the ballot, which is perfectly legal. I do not want to infer that they actually helped the voter fill out the ballot.

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In My Opinion