PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County Democrats are charging that Republican challenges of certain absentee ballots have crossed the line from concern about voter fraud to outright intimidation.
“This fight is not about anything other than the effort of some, in one political party, to disenfranchise another’s right to vote,” County Democratic Party Chairman Martin Mannix said at a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Clinton County Government Center.
“The proof is who is challenged. Unilaterally, they are members of the opposition party.”
Mannix and fellow Democrats are upset that Republicans are challenging dozens of absentee ballots from the Nov. 5 election.
Republicans claim the ballots and the applications for them were inappropriately secured by members of the Working Families Party.
The Working Families Party endorsed most Democratic candidates in the election.
The majority of the ballots being challenged are in the South End of the City of Plattsburgh in Wards 1 and 2 and in Area 8 of the Clinton County Legislature.
City Police are investigating the issue based on a complaint from Republicans.
Mannix acknowledged the Republicans right to challenge ballots, but said they are doing so clearly on a political basis.
He noted that none of the 40 ballots delivered to the Board of Elections by Republican City Council candidate William Ferris were challenged.
“Look at the Town of Plattsburgh: 39 ballots have been challenged, and 31 of them are Democrats, four are Independence Party, two are blank, and one is Working Families Party,’ Mannix said.
“The basis of these challenges is that the ballots were brought into the Board of Elections by either a Working Families Party member or a Democrat.”
VOTER FELT BULLIED
Sydney Garrant, vice chairwoman of the county Democrats, read a letter from voter Kari Lampkins, who said she was harassed and bullied by Republican candidates questioning her ballot.