Rockland County Executive Ed Day is calling for an investigation into what he’s calling fraud connected with hundreds of newly registered voters for a minor party line he is vying for in Tuesday’s primary.
But Kristen Zebrowski-Stavisky, Democratic commissioner of the county Board of Elections, brushed off the allegations as political and false.
“It’s absolutely untrue,” Zebrowski-Stavisky said Thursday morning. “There is no evidence of fraud here. … (Day is) making a lot of leaps with no evidence and this is disconcerting.”
While speaking in front of the Rockland Courthouse, Day, a Republican, alleged an investigation by his campaign found that three people had filed 559 new registrations for the Conservative Party this year — the majority of which were filed at the deadline in August.
Day said his campaign found that many of those new votersappeared to be registered in other parts of the state as well. Using absentee ballots, Day alleged those voters could bypass the verification checks and vote in multiple locations.
Day also alleged the questionable registrations were an attempt to influence the primary for the Conservative Party line, where there are 4,212 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the closed primary.
But Zebrowski-Stavisky said the new registrations raised no red flags.
Zebrowski-Stavisky, who also is the chairwoman of the Rockland Democratic Committee, said the Board of Elections is not conducting an investigation into the new registrations.
“I don’t know where the evidence is that there is fraud,” she said in her county office in New City. “… This is a political agenda being played out.”
It is not unusual for multiple new voter applications to be filed with the county shortly before the deadline, such as from people conducting registration drives, or for information to be missing on a registration form, Zebrowski-Stavisky said.
But Patricia Giblin, the GOP commissioner for the county Board of Elections, disagreed.
Giblin noted that the Conservative Party garners only about 100 new registrations a year. For more than 500 people to register for the party in one year was a “massive, massive amount of registrations.”
“It’s pretty remarkable. … I’m really concerned about what occurred,” she said.
When new voters register, they automatically forfeit their eligibility to vote elsewhere, Zebrowski-Stavisky said. It’s not uncommon for voters to appear eligible to vote in more than one location due to delays in updating the state’s voter database, she said.
“It’s not true to say they are registered to vote in two places,” she said.
The county Board of Elections verifies new voters through the mail and runs their names through a state database.
In the case of missing or incorrect information on a registration form, a voter may be required to show identification at the polling place.
Zebrowski-Stavisky said there have been no proven cases of voter fraud since she began at the Board of Elections in 2013.
Day, who was nominated by the Conservative Party, is contending for that political line in Tuesday’s primary against Tom Sullivan, who is a registered Conservative. Day, who also is vying for the Reform Party line, has secured the Republican line.
Sullivan, 65, of Nanuet said in an email that Day was “hurling baseless allegations and complaining about routine voter registration activities.”
“If he wanted to create meaningful reform in this county, he would make sure as many of our voters register and participate as possible,” Sullivan said. “Instead, Ed Day is trying to disenfranchise a specific group of voters who are simply trying to exercise their basic right to vote.”
Maureen Porette, the Democratic candidate for county executive, said Day’s allegations were a deflection and a fear tactic.
“If you can show me … proof of campaign fraud, I would be standing behind him 100 percent,” she said. “But there’s no proof; it’s allegations and lies yet again.”
Porette was endorsed by the Working Families Party but is being challenged in a write-in primary for the line. She has already secured the Women’s Equality line.
Day said the registrations were “part of sending a message to me” over the county’s crackdown on health code violations and tax evaders.
Day was calling for the following:
- The county Board of Elections, Rockland District Attorney’s Office, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch investigations into the voting registrations.
- The Rockland Sheriff to conduct “police checks” on “each of these suspect voter registrations” to ensure they are accurate.
- Day also was calling on all absentee ballots from the 559 newly registered voters be impounded in the primary and election, and an investigation be conducted to verify their authenticity.
- The state Legislature to pass a laws requiring voters to present identification in order to vote, and requiring voter registration forms to be completely filled out.
The allegations of voter fraud have not been referred to the Rockland District Attorney’s office, said Xiomara Lopez, a spokeswoman for the office.
Day also said that 12 individuals were registered on the same date from one residence in Spring Valley, a property he described as in “significant disarray with no outward indication of residential use.”
That property turned out to be Congregation Noam E. Lizensk, a religious school with more than 150 students aged 15-19 that has been in that location for two decades.
On Thursday afternoon, more than 100 students at the school could be seen studying inside one of the large classrooms.
Joel Klein, a board member for the school, said in an email: “The location is a yeshiva with 150 students an a dormitory and it is fully legal by law for students to register at a dorm. Mr. Day knows of this address; it is in fact in Clarkstown.”