Letter in The Rockland Voice August 29, 2015 “A few days ago, the Ramapo Town Clerk announced the results of the Ramapo Ward System vote which occurred on September 30, 2014. The results were as follows:
1. The machine vote tallied 13,891 “YES” vs. 13,526 “NO” votes.2. The absentee ballot vote tallied 377 “YES” vs. 201 “NO” votes.3. The affidavit ballot vote tallied 419 “YES” vs. 1,854 “NO” votes.So it is obvious that the outlier in this election was the affidavit vote tally. While the Ward “YES” vote outperformed the “NO” vote in both the machine and absentee ballots, there was a gross, reverse trend on the affidavit ballots.
What is an ‘affidavit ballot’ and how it came to be allowed for this special election?
An ‘affidavit ballot’ is one that allows someone who not a registered voter to vote in a special election. By law, the Town of Ramapo, could permit anyone who lived within the boundaries of Ramapo to vote in this special election without being registered to vote. Such persons would be permitted to show up at a polling place and simply request that they be permitted to vote. At that point an ‘affidavit ballot’ would have been supplied which would have required them to provide their address, as well as to sign a declaration testifying under penalty of law that they lived in Ramapo. It would then be the Ramapo Town Clerk’s duty to do follow-up after the election to ensure that this was a legitimate resident and that the ballot was not fraudulent.
Here is where in my opinion this election was corrupted. The Ramapo Town Board, led by Democratic Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, passed a resolution on August 21, 2014 just over one month PRIOR to the Ward Vote which stated:
“Be it resolved that potentially eligible voters may register to vote at the Rockland County Board of Elections on or before 9/23/2014.”
Essentially, the town board was informing the public that if an individual was not a registered voter before that date, they would not be eligible to vote in the Ward Election.
So what happened on Ward Election Day?
Many people from the Hasidic communities crowded into the polling stations. They demanded that they be permitted to vote based on the fact that they were ‘Ramapo residents’. They were not claiming to be registered voters, but merely residents of Ramapo. According to what was reported to me, these prospective voters told the unknowing, and confused poll workers to call Town Clerk Christian Sampson for clarification of their ‘rights’. Mr. Sampson apparently subsequently verified that he must have “forgotten” to include the correct information to the poll workers during their special training sessions that they went through for the election. Sampson instructed them on the fly that any person who declared that they resided in Ramapo be permitted to vote.
Sampson’s “forgotten” instructions cause a veritable ‘hell’ at that point to break loose with Preserve Ramapo / Rockland members, Mike Parietti and Bob Romanowski, receiving many phone calls from voters who were then witnessing an “affidavit voter explosion”. Both men believed instantly that a town-sanctioned election fraud was then occurring before their eyes and they got to work drawing up legal papers to challenge the validity and results of this illegal election. That same day in the afternoon they made their way into the courtroom of Rockland County’s Judge Garvey late in that afternoon to file papers that they believed an illegal and corrupt election was taken place.
Parietti and Romanowski brought to Judge Garvey’s atttention the language of the resolution passed by the town board on August 21, 2014 which specifically required that a voter had to have been registered to participate in the Ward Election. Ramapo Town attorney, Mike Klein, however opined that as a matter of law affidavit ballots were permitted as per NYS election law for this special election. When Judge Garvey inquired as to why no member of the public and none of the poll workers were aware of the affidavit privilege, Klein responded: “We didn’t publicize the fact that people can make affidavit votes, because you know, if thousands of people come in on the day of the election who are not pre-registered it makes the process that much more crazy.” Essentially what Mr. Klein should have said to the judge in my opinion was: “We only told the Hasidic community about non-registered voting because we were worried we might lose the Ward referendum and we had to be sure to rig this election to tailor our own needs.”
Judge Garvey, upon hearing Mike Klein’s ‘explanation’, ordered that the election proceed but that all ballots and machines were to be impounded and that the election be disqualified due to the apparent fraud. Ramapo appealed Judge Garvey’s decision – it was overturned in Brooklyn Appellate Court with the results ordered to be tabulated and permission granted for any party to challenge the results subsequently in court.
What happens now is anyone’s guess though a few facts appear indisputable. A canvass has now been performed of all of the affidavit voters’ addresses as written on these ballots. OVER 90% of these ballots have addresses recorded as cast by an unregistered voter living in either Monsey, New Square or Kaser Village. Thus the affidavit ballots came overwhelmingly from the Hasidic community. Regrettably, the belief among many of us who watched this farcical election is that town officials secretly told the Hasidic leaders that they would allow affidavit voting while keeping this a secret throughout the rest of the Town of Ramapo. How many disenfranchised non-registered parents of East Ramapo students would have voted had they known that they too could use affidavit ballots?
I must conclude that massive voter oppression and clear government fraud was in play with this election!
Shockingly, the town did identify two Hasidic individuals who had voted twice. In these cases one vote was cast on a machine, and a second vote was cast as an affidavit vote at a different polling place. This information has now been forwarded to the Rockland DA’s office and we will be sure to follow-up with future developments as they occur. But what needs to be determined now is how many other voters decided to vote first on the machine ballot, and then scamper to another location and give a different identity and address to cast a second “NO” vote. As mentioned above, it appears that the two now under investigation forgot to lie about their identities on their second fraudulent vote.
In my view it is not a mistake to say that in Ramapo, Rockland’s largest town in both population and land mass, its elected Democratic officials have been metaphorically bought and paid for. Ramapo’s shame is beginning to affect the whole of Rockland County.
Clarkstown Ward System
This November the REGISTERED VOTERS of Clarkstown will have an opportunity to vote on something that the powerful Hasidic political voting bloc and the seemingly corrupt town government of Ramapo fought so hard to prevent. Clarkstown’s voters will have an opportunity to vote on their own Ward System. This opportunity did not come easy and it was not enthusiastically supported by the Democrats, Gromack, Hausner and Lasker, on the Town Board. But thanks to the leadership of a man who I hope will be the next supervisor of Clarkstown, George Hoehmann, Clarkstown voters will get their chance to change the way we are governed. Our representatives need to be accountable to all of their constituents, not merely powerful special-interest groups.
The Clarkstown Preservation Society and Preserve Rockland strongly endorse a “YES” vote for SIX CLARKSTOWN WARDS this November. Please do not squander this last opportunity to prevent Clarkstown from becoming another ‘Ramapo’. Vote “YES” for SIX CLARKSTOWN WARDS in November.
Sincerely,Peter BradleyClarkstown Preservation Society