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."

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