Columbia County Democratic Committee Chair Keith Kanaga
has categorically denied the allegations made by county Republican Elections Commissioner Kelly Miller-Simmons
accusing the committee of misusing the mail and fraudulently misrepresenting an absentee mailing. In a statement released October 1, Kanaga said the county Democrats did mail absentee ballot applications "to a large number of voters...encouraging them to request absentee ballots." He said all costs related to the mailing were paid for by the committee, denying that any public or Board of Elections funds were used. Kanaga said the U.S. Postal Service reviewed the envelope designs and "...the postal indicia is that of the commercial firm we used to mail the applications. The notion that some inappropriate postage or indicia was used is nonsense." Miller-Simmons September 30, announced that she had filed a complaint with state and federal authorities against the Democrats, saying she believed the mailing was designed to mislead voters. "It is disappointing that someone whose job is to encourage voter registration and voter turnout would find this mailing objectionable, Kanaga said. "It appears to be an attempt to discourage people from returning their absentee ballot applications and thereby suppress voter turnout." Kanaga encouraged everyone who received an absentee ballot application to complete and return it to the Board of Elections immediately. "Finally, we have full confidence in Columbia County voters and the election process, in spite of this partisan attack by someone who should know better," Kanaga wrote.