Lee Zeldin’s photocopied petition signatures made a stop at the State Republican Party headquarters in Albany before being submitted to the Board of Elections, new reports show.
The board invalidated Zeldin’s Independence Party petition, along with those of other statewide candidates, in early July.
Over 11,000 signatures out of the 52,000 submitted were photocopies, an investigation revealed.
GOP spokesperson: The scene was “chaotic” as volunteers, staff worked to assemble petition pages before deadline
The New York GOP began a largescale petitioning effort in May.
The party’s goal was for Republican statewide candidates to collect enough signatures to run on the Independence Party line, in addition to the Republican line, for the November 8 election.
Signed Independence Party petitions were dropped off at state GOP headquarters in Albany, bound at the party office then submitted to the BOE on the May 31 deadline, Albany Times-Union reports.
State GOP spokesperson Jessica Proud insists no one in the Republican Party knows how the copies came to be included among the originals.
She said signatures were being handed in by volunteers up until minutes before the filing deadline.
Proud described the scene as “chaotic” as volunteers and staff worked to compile hundreds of pages of signatures before the filing deadline.
Zeldin falls short of signatures needed to appear on Independence Party ballot
The incident has prompted significant criticism of Zeldin’s campaign.
Democratic state Senator Zellnor Myrie, chair of the Senate Elections Committee, says she wrote a letter to the Albany County District Attorney requesting an investigation into the Independence Party petitioning effort.
Albany County DA Davis Soares says his office never received the letter, though it was provided to the media.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign released the following statement last week:
“Lee Zeldin is now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it’s real. New Yorkers deserve to know how more than 11,000 photocopied petition signatures were submitted on behalf of Zeldin’s campaign and who oversaw the process.”
In total, the BOE found over 12,800 signatures submitted to be invalid, 11,000 of those being photocopies.
As a result, Zeldin and other statewide candidates came up roughly 6,000 signatures short of the 45,000 needed to appear on the Independence Party line.
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