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LEGISLATURE STUFF - Rejecting a Recheck

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/12/24 | 4/12/24

By Michael Ryan

CATSKILL - No mention is made of the New York Citizens Audit group in a resolution rejected by the Greene County Legislature, earlier this week, calling for a line-by-line, statewide scrutiny of the 2022 election.

But the measure, offered by legislature chairman Patrick Linger, came closely on the heels of a visit to the legislative floor by the NYCA in February, urging lawmakers to join their push for a look-see.

NYCA executive director Marly Hornick, at that time, claimed that an open-source audit of the 2020 New York general election uprooted evidence of massive inaccuracies in violation of both State and federal law.

Hornick, claiming the inaccuracies have created a “dirty voter roll” said, “we are not saying these anomalies represent fraud. We are not saying that elections are per se invalid.

“We are saying that these inaccuracies are inexplicable, not acceptable, and need to be investigated and explained one by one.

“We are saying New York needs to open the books to find out how the system is broken. We need to close the gaps,” Hornick said.

Lawmakers took no action that night. Linger, after the session said, “I was asked by a majority of the board not to put this on the agenda yet,” noting Hornick had asked to be heard.

“We want to give everyone time to look into this more deeply. There is a lot here if anybody looks at this objectively,” Linger said.

Staunchly disagreeing with that conclusion was Greene County Board of Election commissioner Brent Bogardus who also serves as the county’s Republican Party chairman.

Bogardus shared the contents of a letter sent by the State Board of Elections to the NY State Association of Counties on the issue.

“There isn’t a lot that Democrats and Republicans agree upon at the State level but they agree on this,” Bogardus said, noting the letter had been signed by both co-executive directors at the State Board of Elections.

The letter states, “you have likely seen recent news coverage of a group of misinformed individuals purporting to have found major deficiencies in New York State's voter registration database.

“This group has alleged that countless fake voters have been inserted into the registration database in order to create invalid votes to sway elections. 

“They claim that no elections should be certified in New York State because of alleged counterfeit registrations and actions by those who run elections.

“Over the last year and a half, the group - New York Citizens Audit - has presented their fabricated claims throughout our State,” the letter states.

“More recently, they have brought their embellished and misleading reports before local Town Boards and County Legislatures requesting that these bodies take up resolutions to support their cause.

“The resolutions are framed around their ill-informed reports, misinterpreted passages of state and federal law and an allegation that the 2020 and 2022 elections were fraudulent.

“They represent, at best, an ignorance of the voter registration process in New York State, and, at worst, a willful disregard of basic fact.

“It is our hope that your organization can assist us in arming your members with information to help dispel these malicious claims,” the letter states.

Linger offered the resolution at a County Services committee session, on Monday night, noting he was responding to requests from officials and constituents in his home base (District 5, New Baltimore).

The measure asked the State Election Board to “take the following actions to assure domestic tranquility through provisions of fair and honest elections.

“There have been State and county wide concerns regarding fair and honest elections,” the measure stated, without citing the source of the purported concerns.

“The Legislature of Greene County joins in those concerns and wishes to ensure fair and honest elections,” proposing the following actions:

—“A complete end-to-end audit, from registration through certification, of the New York State 2022 General Election, for both paper and electronic records, including ballots, by a mutually agreed upon, external, third-party bonded auditing firm.”

That firm should be “possessed of adequate insurance and indemnification for the handling and protection of the personal identifying information of millions of New York citizens in order to determine the true error rate.

“This audit will provide a comprehensive report and analysis of all lapses and errors with explanation of cause where it can be determined.

—“The enactment of legislation that (A) defines a mutually agreed upon process by which an end-to-end audit would be triggered in any future elections. (B) de fines a mutually agreed upon accuracy rate for the voter roll data base:

(C) allows for anonymous vote verification and tracking by the voter (open- source, royalty-free patent pending) including automatic mechanisms to report and remedy errors during the canvass period following an election, regardless of ballot entry source.

—Criminalize election misconduct explicitly with regard to State Election Law and increase penalties to reflect the societal and generational harm inflicted by these crimes,” the proposed resolution states.

The resolution was soundly defeated with little discussion. “All I can do is get this to a vote,” Linger said in a phone interview.

“I am in support of it but it isn’t whether it passed or failed. What matters is that the people I am representing wanted this brought forward. Then you have to let the chips fall they may.”


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