Another election fraud case in New York continues
Brendan J. Lyons and Chris Bragg report in the Times Union that investigators with the Albany County District Attorney's office and the state Board of Elections are continuing an investigation into thousands of duplicate signatures submitted in nominating petitions to try to get Republican Lee Zeldin an extra ballot line with the Independence Party for his current run for governor. The state Republican party submitted the petitions with the duplicate signatures, not Zeldin's campaign. The roughly 11,000 duplicate signatures were photocopied at the state Republican Party headquarters in Albany. A source with knowledge of the investigation told the Times Union that criminal charges are now being considered because it appears the duplicate signatures were deliberately mixed into the petitions. The petition effort was headed by John F. Haggerty, Jr., a longtime Republican operative from Queens who serves in a leadership role for the state party. "Nothing could've gone out the door without his knowledge," a Republican Party source told the newspaper. Haggerty has previously had troubles with the law during an election, convicted in 2011 of stealing roughly $750,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during his 2009 re-election campaign. He did not respond to a reporter's query for comment. Jessica Proud, a spokesperson for the state Republican Party, all but refused to comment, saying, "It's nonsense. We've said all we're going to say on the matter.... It's election season. This is all political." Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democrat running against Zeldin, released a campaign statement claiming Zeldin is "now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it's real." Read more about this story in the Times Union.