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Rensselaer County GOP elections commissioner pleads guilty to voter fraud

Jan 12, 2023 1:00 am

Robert Gavin reports for the Times Union that former Rensselaer County Republican elections commissioner Jason T. Schofield, on Jan. 11, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of voter fraud in U.S. District Court, admitting to fraudulently filing absentee ballots in 2021 using the personal information of at least eight voters without their permission as well as the unlawful possession and use of a means of identification on five occasions in May, September and October 2021. His guilty plea is part of a larger, ongoing investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that led to the earlier guilty plea of now ex-Troy City Council Member Kimberly Ashe-McPherson. When the judge asked attorney Danielle Neroni if her client had a viable defense, should the case have gone to trial, Neroni indicated that Schofield was pleading guilty, at least to an extent, against her advice. “This is Mr. Schofield’s decision,” Neroni said. “He wants to go forward. This is his choice.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett said on two occasions, Schofield acted on the request of Ashe-McPherson, who pleaded guilty to a federal charge in June. He did not have the lawful authority to use the voters’ names and dates of birth in the applications for absentee ballots, Barnett told the judge. Schofield is facing 10-to-16 months behind bars; it could be as little as zero to six months depending on the circumstances at the time of sentencing on May 12. Schofield agreed to waive an appeal on any sentence of 21 months or less.  He is believed to have agreed to cooperate with federal authorities. The Rensselaer County Legislature voted on December 13 to reappoint Schofield to his county job while the federal criminal case was pending, but he has since resigned. He was named elections commissioner in April 2018, the same month he resigned from the Troy Board of Education, where he served for 15 years and was president for seven. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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