Rensselaer election fraud story grows larger
Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that an anonymous 32-year-old Rensselaer man claims someone forged their signatures on the voting documents, and that the absentee ballots applied for on behalf of him and his wife were fraudulent as he has never voted in an election or applied to vote by absentee ballot. The man claims he has never met Rich Crist, the Republican operative listed on the absentee applications as the person authorized to pick up the couple's ballots from the board of elections. Crist is the county's operations director, and works closely with Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin. The two ballots are currently part of 120 ballots in a court battle over an election where the Republican is leading the Democrat by just 11 votes. Incumbent Rensselaer Mayor Michael E. Stammel leads Democratic challenger Richard J. Mooney by 11 votes so far in the contested election. Crist refused to directly address the man's allegations. "This is an issue we look forward to having resolved as the review of ballots for the Rensselaer city elections continue," he said in a statement. The anonymous man said that he told state police investigating the issue that his wife's first name was misspelled on one of the election documents. The man also claims that the Republican mayor called hims Nov. 14. "I told him me and my wife would not be talking about this matter, and his exact words were (that) it would be in my best interest just to say that this vote was mine and just that nothing was done wrong," the man said. "To tell you the truth, me and my wife know nothing about this — we don’t know why ballots were applied for in our name; we didn’t take part in the election. ... It’s now affecting our lives. We want nothing to do with it. We didn’t vote. We don’t vote. I don’t like either of the candidates." Stammel said he did call the man, but claims he made no threat. "I said nothing about his best interest," Stammel said. "It might have been I said if you did vote for me and you want your ballot counted, it would probably be best to sign this affidavit when the guys contact you." Rea more about this story in the Times Union.