Rensselaer County election fraud probe widens
Brendan J. Lyons in the Times Union writes about the widening election fraud probe in Rensselaer County, where a public-housing apartment complex in Lansingburgh is now the focus of investigation. There have been previous reports of Republicans filing absentee ballots on behalf of citizens without their knowledge. Now board of election records show that 45 absentee ballots were filed on behalf of residents in one apartment complex, many listing "permanent illness or physical disability" as the reason for the absentee ballot. The newspaper quotes an anonymous source saying investigators visited the Lansingburgh apartment complex on 114th Street earlier this week to interview residents, but did not say if they were from the State Police, FBI, or the state attorney general's office, who are all investigating the potential ballot fraud. The Times Union reported last month that a 32-year-old Rensselaer man had absentee ballots applied for on behalf of him and his wife by someone unknown to him. The man claimed he has never voted in an election or applied to vote by absentee ballot, and that someone had forged their signatures on the documents. And then days after that story was published in the Times Union, the tires on his vehicle were slashed outside his residence. Rensselaer Mayor Michael Stammel had his mobile phone seized during the investigation, and has been about the only Republican whose name has emerged in the investigation to make any public comment. "I myself or nobody affiliated with me during the election process, that I am aware of, had anything to do with any wrongdoing with any absentee ballots or any voting intimidation or anything to with the election other than assisting those people who wanted to vote by absentee ballots with their approvals," Stammel said a day after he was interviewed by an investigator. Read more about this story in the Times Union.