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Republican Rensselaer election official arrested by the FBI

Sep 13, 2022 1:55 pm

Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that Federal Bureau of Investigation officials arrested Jason T. Schofield, the Republican Rensselaer County Board of Elections commissioner, on Sept. 13. Schofield and other Republican officials have been under investigation for alleged election fraud there in recent elections. In June, Troy councilperson Kimberly Ashe-McPherson plead guilty to federal criminal charge in the investigation examining ballot-fraud allegations. The Times Union reports that Mary E. Sweeney, the county's Democratic deputy elections commissioner, testified last week before a federal grand jury in Albany "as federal authorities zeroed in on Schofield's use of an online portal to obtain absentee ballots." The newspaper also reports that several Republican employees at the board of elections were also subpoenaed this summer to testify before the federal grand jury in Albany and the county itself received a federal grand jury subpoena for materials related to absentee ballots that had been handled by Schofield last year, including through a state-run online portal. Ashe-McPherson, who has since resigned from the Troy city council, admitted she had fraudulently submitted absentee ballots in last year's primary and general elections. Her plea agreement names Schofield as the unidentified board of elections official listed as "Individual-3." According to the plea document, Schofield allegedly helped Ashe-McPherson obtain an absentee ballot through an online portal using the name and date of birth of a voter without "lawful authority." Besides the federal probe of Republican election irregularities, the State Police are conducting a separate investigation of alleged ballot fraud in the city of Rensselaer's mayoral race last November. In addition, Republican Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin plead not guilty to two felony charges involving his alleged theft and misuse of campaign funds. Republicans in Rensselaer County caught up in the election investigations there have denied any wrongdoing, saying they were taking advantage of a directive from the state Board of Elections that allowed individuals to use absentee ballots if they did not want to vote in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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