Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Greenport Primary Results for Town Supervisor and Town Council

The September 10th primary in Greenport had contests on the Working Families and Independence lines for town offices.
Timothy Shook received 2 votes and Ed Nabozny 6 write-ins to win the slot for Town Supervisor on the Working Party line.

On the Independence line for Greenport Town Supervisor, the win also went to Edward Nabozny with 32 votes versus 16 write-ins for John Porreca. For the Town Council Independence line, Democrat Guy Apicella and Independent Kathy Eldridge won with 29 and 21 write-in votes, respectively. Republican Keith Mortefolio, who was on the ballot, lost with 17 votes.  (The other Republican contender for Town Council, John Mausholf, was not on the ballot and did not receive any write-in votes.)

Of particular interest were the 14 absentee ballots for the Independence line.  A police interview on primary day with one applicant found that he did not live in the town of Greenport, and his ballot was withdrawn. His father had also submitted an absentee ballot and the same interview observed that he was present in the county and not absent that day, but his vote was still counted.  Six of the remaining voters were challenged on the belief and information that they were also in the county on the day of the election. (Two voters who filled out these applications at least a week before the primary said that they planned to be sick that day.)  All of these non-absentee absentee voters went for the Republican candidate, although this did not affect the results of the primary. 

It should be noted that anyone who fills out an absentee ballot attests to the following statement:
"I certify that I am a qualified and a registered (and for primary, enrolled) voter; and that the information in this application is true and correct and that this application will be accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an affidavit and, if it contains a material false statement, shall subject me to the same penalties as if I had been duly sworn."

The absentee ballot also instructs that:
"Each person must apply for himself or herself. It is a felony to make a false statement in an application for an absentee ballot, to attempt to cast an illegal ballot, or to help anyone cast an illegal ballot."

The cornerstone for American democracy requires that there be fair and honest elections.  Absentee ballots have strict requirements before they are issued, not for the convenience of a voter who does not want to vote in person.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Case of the Non-Absentee Absentee Voters

During the current Independence Party primary in Greenport for Town Supervisor, Ed Nabozny, already the Democratic candidate for this office, reported a disturbing pattern while visiting potential voters. "Political operatives were going around Greenport approaching registered voters with unsolicited absentee ballot applications," he says. He went on to explain that these voters were not told that, under New York State regulations, they need to be too disabled to get to the polls or out of the county during voting hours on Primary Day in order to vote absentee. 

About 20 voters were misled into signing an affidavit that that they were not able to vote in person and would be "out of the county."  The voters, however, were not asked by the soliciting operative whether they were actually going to be absent that day, and many were told that filling out an absentee ballot would simply be a convenience for them. Some of the applications were already pre-filled with the voters' information.  

I was able to look at copies of these absentee ballot applications, and every one authorized one individual--a family member of the opposing candidate--to submit them to the County Board of Elections. 

According to NY State Election Law, “It is a felony to make a false statement in an absentee ballot application.“  By not informing the voters that they must be disabled or out of the county, these political operatives were placing these voters in jeopardy.  
Nabozny said, "Some of the people who were victimized became noticeably upset when we explained how they were misled.  Some said they felt intimidated and pressured to fill in the application."  

Nabozny released this information with the hope that future voters would be aware of the voting regulations and read thoroughly any document presented to them to sign, even if they know the individual seeking their signature.  Nabozny said, "Voting is a precious right that should not have been manipulated in this manner."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Greenport Primaries: All Elections Are Important

Primary Day is Thursday, September 10th .  Polls open at 12 and close at 9.

In Greenport Election District 2, four contestants are vying for 2 positions on the Greenport Democratic Committee: Caroline Cleinmann, Eugene Keeler, Donna Morgan, and Tim Shook.  The polling site for this primary is at the Becraft Pumper No, 2, 257 County Rte 14. 

Also in all Greenport election districts are an Independence primary for Town Supervisor and Town Council and a Working Party primary for Town Supervisor.  Both of these primaries allow write-in candidates.

The Great Columbia County Democratic Picnic

Celebrate fall and the Columbia County Democratic Party at the beautiful Lake Taghkanic State Park on September 12.