Posted at: 09/11/2013 6:38 PM
Updated at: 09/11/2013 7:11 PM
By: John McLoughlin
The tables are turned in Rensselaer County where it's now the Democrats claiming that something smells "fishy" about absentee ballots collected by one of the top Republican operatives.
Four years ago, Republicans were pointing an accusatory finger at the Democrats, resulting in a very long and very expensive investigation and very few convictions. Now the Democrats are targeting Republican operative Rich Crist.
Democratic Chairman Tom Wade says there's no way that Rich Crist, could have legitimately gathered as many absentee ballots as he did.
Wade admits to having no proof, but he says it's almost impossible that Crist legitimately collected 61 absentee ballots on behalf of Republicans running in minor-party primaries - 22 percent of the total.
Both parties try to win extra lines on the ballot, and absentees are part of that effort
A legitimate excuse like a long illness can get you an absentee and you can authorize a third party to pick it up from the board
Four years ago, Republicans accused Democrats of widespread fraud four Democrats pleaded guilty, but two major figures were acquitted.
Crist told me over the phone there was no wrongdoing
He says the Democratic chairman is simply trying to cover up for his own failures in the primaries
In Albany County, as a result of a court case, the Board of Elections tries to avoid fraud by limiting to just eight the number of absentee ballots any one person can pick up
Matt Clyne, one of two Albany County Election Commissioners, does not agree with limiting absentees to any number. Clyne says if anyone is going to violate the law, forge a signature, the number of ballots is irrelevant.
The State Board of Elections says that Schenectady county does "not" place any limit, but if someone comes in with two or more ballots, they try to phone the applicants to see if everything is on the up and up.