Albany DA Investigating Alleged Duplicate Signatures on NY GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Lee Zeldin’s Petitions
Politically motivated? The election is less than a month away.
The Albany Times-Union reported that the Albany County District Attorney’s office and state Board of Elections started investigating possible “duplicate signatures” on nomination petitions for GOP gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin.
Less than two months until the election, and this just now pops up? Don’t they realize people will be suspicious, especially since Zeldin has a shot at beating current Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul?
The investigation does not include Zeldin’s campaign since New York’s Republican Party was in charge of the petitions “under the direction of John F. Haggerty, Jr., a longtime GOP operative from Queens who serves in a leadership role for the state party, according to a person briefed on the work.”
From The Albany Times-Union:
Investigators initially suspected the roughly 11,000 duplicate signatures, which were photocopied at the state Republican Party headquarters in Albany, had been inserted in the petitions due to a clerical error. But investigators are now examining whether there are potential criminal charges because it appears the duplicate signatures were deliberately mixed into the petitions, a source with knowledge of the investigation said. They were filed just before a May 31 deadline but — without the photocopied signatures — were well short of the minimum 45,000 needed to secure the third-party line for Zeldin.
The investigation is focusing on who took part in the photocopying and whether top GOP party officials directed or sanctioned the effort.
“Nothing could’ve gone out the door without his knowledge,” a Republican Party source said, referring to Haggerty’s supervisory role in the organization.
Zeldin was going to run on the Independence Party line as well, but the BOE stopped that in July.
An investigation “invalidated nearly 13,000 signatures” on those nomination petitions.
The campaign submitted 52,000 signatures but only needed 45,000. Without those 13,000 signatures, Zeldin could not be on that party line:
Zeldin’s petitions were challenged by officials with the New York Libertarian Party, who not only contested the signatures were invalid but also noted that about 11,000 of them were photocopied duplicates.
“Republicans talk a lot about election integrity, but the Zeldin campaign attempted to fly under the radar and submit over 11,000 fraudulent signatures in an attempt to get a third line on the ballot,” Andrew Kolstee, secretary of the Libertarian Party, said in a news release Thursday.
The Independence Party line investigation spurred the Democrats to demand an investigation into the Republican Party line nomination since those “dubious petitions” were found at the Republican Party headquarters.
More from The Albany Times-Union:
Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for the state Republican Party, previously confirmed that the Independence Party petitions were dropped at the Republican Party headquarters on State Street in Albany — and bound in volumes at the party office — before submission to the state Board of Elections.
Of 52,000 signatures submitted, more than 11,000 were determined by the Board of Elections to be photocopies of other, original signatures within those same records. The copied pages were interspersed in a manner leading some election experts to conclude their inclusion may have been intentional, possibly to inflate the number of signatures to surpass the daunting new threshold of 45,000 valid signatures for upstart state parties to gain ballot access.
Proud had said last month that no one in the Republican Party knew how the copies became integrated with original signatures, and that their inclusion was inadvertent. She said hundreds of volunteers across the state collected signatures, handed them off to other volunteers and then dropped them off at various locations including GOP headquarters in Albany, where signatures were “being collected and dropped off up until minutes before the filing deadline.”
However, Proud said something different before:
Proud previously said the signature pages were bound into volumes at GOP headquarters with more than 20 volunteers, interns and staff “frantically pulling together the hundreds of pages of signatures” at the last minute. They were “hole-punching and binding, rushing to get them in before it was too late.”
“Whether for record-keeping or data entry purposes, it is a very common procedure for copies to be made of petitions by campaigns and even individuals who gather signatures,” Proud had said. “The process was chaotic and as a result, copies of the valid signatures were inadvertently included in the filing. The mistake was acknowledged and the [Board of Elections] decision to rule the petitions invalid was accepted with no further action taken.”
Either way, Proud might be correct when she said the investigation is “politically motivated.”
A recent Trafalgar Group poll found Zeldin “is within a single-digit margin of winning” the election.
Zeldin defeating Hochul would be considered “a major upset.” New York is a firm blue state, and Hochul took over after disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in August 2021:
A Trafalgar Group poll conducted from August 31 to September 1 found that Zeldin trailed Hochul by less than 5 percentage points. The survey marks the best polling for Zeldin in months, but still shows Hochul as the likely winner.
Zeldin won support from 43.4 percent of poll respondents, while Hochul secured support from 47.8 of the respondents. The poll surveyed 1,091 respondents and has a margin of error of 2.9 percent.
But FiveThirtyEight has Hochul up 51.8% and Zeldin at 38.1%.
Here is a report about the Independence Party line petitions:
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Wow, they should have already done that investigation before he was allowed on the ballot for the primaries. What this is, is the communists think he might actually win.
So NOW they are interested in validating signatures????
Mail in ballots? Nah.
Absentee ballots? Nope.
On positive ID? Not a chance….
Worked in California to stop recall of Prog DA. Why not NY?
Is the Albany County DA worried about the obvious optics of political motivation? Why would he be? He answers only to the built-in Dem voters and other progressive pols. The Albany Times Union newspaper is not known for investigating the self-dealing, politically motivated pols under its nose. So, this DA has a blank check. He’s seen the quite bare political motivations of the NY AG, and is borrowing her playbook. He wants to be NYT’s Zeldin-killer.
“Zeldin was going to run on the Independence Party line as well”
What does that mean?
In New York State, a candidate may run on the ballot under multiple party lines, the minor parties often merely parrot the big two candidates instead of running their own also rans.
Hochul is a laughingstock with a hateful streak. Embarrassing that Democrats come up with such stellar people. Next will she run for president?
Ohhh, that on a GOP ballot they can find but nothing in a million ballots in on the street ballot boxes votes
Nice to see that Albany is just as corrupt as ever.
Hasn’t changed in100 years since the O’Connell machine.
Hochul is such a stupid, obnoxious witch. She’s completely unqualified to hold public office, let alone be Governor. That said, Dems celebrate ignorant incompetency, so she’ll probably win.
God, I wish I could leave this state.
This is the first time I’ve imagined you exactly as your avatar.
Can’t leave at all?
Unfortunately, no. Unless I somehow become independently wealthy.
Sometimes, leaving is exactly how you manage that.
Well, you’ll pay much less in taxes almost anywhere else.
Wife and I bit the bullet several years ago and left the state next door to you without jobs or a place to live for points south. We are much happier and visit back north once a year to remind ourselves why we don’t live there full time anymore
They MIGHT be investigating tampering and an attempted set-up by the Dems, but I rather doubt it.
“”Zeldin’s petitions were challenged by officials with the New York Libertarian Party,””
Once again, the Libertarian Party steps up to help a Democrat win a close election.
There will be a hefty payoff.
No, they actually do this for free.
The Libertarian Party. . .don’t know how to govern and don’t want to win they just want to stand around and watch it all burn while they feel good about themselves and their purity.
The Libertarians and Progressives have a major platform point in common: hedonism.
However ballot signatures are not checked for duplication. Because they are duplicated by crooked Democrats.
This article is very confusing. Was it Zeldin’s quest for the Independece party line that was challenged, or was it the GOP line?
If this was for the GOP line, then the whole story makes no sense whatsoever. Under New York state law, major party candidates for statewide office may be placed automatically on the primary ballot by obtaining 25% of the vote of party state committee members at a meeting convened for that particular purpose.
I would think that as choice of party insiders, this would have been the route Zeldin followed, rather than take his chance with a nominating petition with burdensome requirements.
Please explain further.
According to the article the Libertarian Party challenged the signatures to place Zeldin on the Independence Party ballot line. The signed Petition pages were apparently collected at GOP HQ and assembled for submission.
It’s the cycling of the petitions (for the Independence Party ballot line) through GOP headquarters that is getting them investigated. Since all of those petitions were bundled up and sent along by the GOP, the DA can justify investigating them.
Me too. It looks like there is no vote process or primary election and a candidate can claim a particular spot on the general election ballot just because his party gets a certain number of petition signatures and the party leaders agree on the candidate.
The public has no choice in that? Just the party leaders?
Maybe I’m missing where the vote happened. And I know the effort failed but I’m trying to understand the process.
It seems like the parties rule in NY State, not the people.
This is how Obama became a State Senator in Illinois – he had his opponents removed from the ballot.
When questioned on this extremely anti-democratic tactic, Obama replied, “If you can win, you win.”
Which is pretty much the same response George Soros gave when asked if he felt guilty about surviving WWII by informing on fellow Jews to the NAZIS and having them sent on boxcars to Auschwitz (after which, Soros and his family would then loot their houses).
NY has both a history of primary and ballot improprieties and a history of shenanigans to kick candidates off the polling machine lines.
Not that I would have voted for him as president (cabinet material imho, not the head guy) but I still remember when Buchanan was removed from consideration because his volunteer workers had used paperclips instead of staples to hold together his get-on-the-ballot petitions.
It wasn’t that the signatures weren’t legit or numerous enuf to qualify him, it was that the paperwork didn’t follow some fiddling unnecessary to the purpose arcane rules detail. Let every vote count only counts when convenient in NY state. That time it wasn’t.
The election laws in NY are on the high end of being incumbent protection acts. Complicated, arcane, and requiring resources only a major party can afford.
The Independence Party isn’t on the ballot for anyone for governor this year. I think that would render any case noot, wouldn’t it? Unless they’re going to go for another one of those conspiracy charges.
4 parties with bloot lines for governor- Republican and Conservative, with Zeldin as their nominee, both of which under NY election law have automatic ballot access without petition needed, and Democrat and Working Families with Hochul as nominee, the latter of which required petition approval by the NY Board of Elections to get a ballot line. For the first time in my lifetime, and anyone under 80, no third party candidates for governor. Every single petition attempt from a third party was disqualified. I’m willing to bet the Working Families Party petition would have had something wrong with it if they had nominated someone other than Hochul. With no other statewide candidates- only the Working Families Party can posibly obtain automatic ballot access after this year’s election.
The apparatus is completely infiltrated by opportunistic activists. They’ll tip the outcome on the DL every chance they get. Read “Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel.”
In a close election, how many shenanigans does it take to count as suppression? Fraud?
Count how many times I was impeded trying to vote. The way I read the dénouement, I could well be on some kind of double-secret probation now, kinda “chilling” when we have terrorist info fusion centers, Feebs rousting people on anonymous tips, and nationalized Capitol “police” doing what, beholden to whom?
I call shenanigans.
— I moved, about 2 miles within the same county.
— (Surmise) The board of elections introduced an error in their record of my information during the update.
— I receive notice of polling place by mail on BoE letterhead; my name, new address.
— At polling place, they can’t “locate” me by name in “their system” to hand me my ballot.
— Showing them the notice on BoE letterhead, they declined to try to figure out why they can’t look up someone apparently in their “system.”
— No volunteer of what I might do to vote.
— I stopped counting at 3 times declining to be blown off, until finally getting: “Well you can fill out this magic, provisional ballot thing.”
— Get one of those, start filling out.
— Get more uncomfortable with the process: the error, the info on the magic form, whether that’s gonna count, what’s gonna happen thereafter.
— Ask only guy handy “Is there a way I can contact the Board of Elections?”
— Assert to guy 1) I have this here notice, and they can’t find me. 2) I want to vote, as myself, have it count, and have nobody else vote as me. Right now I am not confident in any of those.
— Turns out he’s security; points me to a polling site “proctor”-type. (Nobody pointed me to this guy prior. This guy didn’t step up until pointed to.)
— Same assertion at proctor-guy “How do I contact the Board of Elections?” Issue is notice, “I want to vote…” Apparently me contacting the Board of Elections is a bothersome thought.
— Proctor-guy looks me up in their “system” at same bank of terminals “can’t find you” person used. There I am.
— “What happened?” Assertion, they look you up by first few letters of last name. Lookup-person used my entire last name, which included a second-to-last letter error in the electronic record. (?!?)
— “How do we dispose of this?” — provisional ballot. “We void that out. You can write “Void” on it yourself.”
— Void partial provisional ballot. Complete issue ballot.
— Ask proctor-guy what to do about fixing my name in their system: “Let’s not do this again.” Proctor-guy asserts he’ll take care of it.
Having done All The Things, some months later I get a letter from the Board of Elections notifying me that attempting to vote twice, as they assert in that letter I did, is a crime.
To summarize, I voided the incorrectly provided provisional ballot myself, with my own hands, directly observed by site-proctor guy (New info — with a pen they loaned me.) before accepting my personal ballot to complete.
Nobody tried to vote twice. I did have to run a gauntlet of error and misdirection to one hopes vote once. How many shenanigans before its suppression? Was my vote counted, or was this a mechanism for election fraud by accusing me of trying to vote twice.
Elections have to look clean, even more than be clean, and my local Board of Elections blew that. Bigly, one might say. (Stop Making Trump Look Right, Dammit.)
This is clearly designed to slow down Zeldin’s momentum
Cuomo was a good roll model for Hochul. Hochul was not publically active but standing in the wings just waiting. Perhaps a contributor at a key time to help abet his down fall. Perhaps for the chits she has been pulling in since moving to Albany duplicating Cuomo’s best practices of dirty tricks, quiet back door blackmail calling and referring it as party loyalty, scarfing up large donations by appointments and giving tax dollars to special contractors via state contracts and turning it around to receive huge campaign donations.
Not a micro hair of difference between the two. Yes, Hochul has had enough time since stepping into his shoes to continue the sham and another dirty trick.
It’s the Albany way.
They’re having ever less surplus to play with, so the costs of the patronage and shenanigans become more real. People get less inclined to go along with extortion, when they can’t survive on what’s left over.
Casual acceptance of black market commerce, and disregard of state laws havve become the cultural norm over the last 8-10 years in places you woudn’t expect. Last week officers of a church charity feeding the homeless were openly, casually talking about gaming around the system, as just part of doing business. Because it has become just part of doing business.