Election fraud alleged in RCS vote

Department of Education reviews two petitions alleging electioneering, lax polling place controls

— Other younger residents voting for the first time claimed they were not registered to vote with either the Board of Elections or the school district, yet they were allowed to vote without filling out paperwork or showing identification.

“I had never previously voted for any type of election and had my identification with me because it was required,” wrote Danielle Petraukas in her affidavit. “My name was not in the sign-in book upon my arrival. The lady … advised me that my name was on a list for all of the individuals who had previously graduated within the past two years. She told me I did not have to fill out any papers because she had already filled one out for me, but I was not required to sign any paper or show I.D.”

Jay Worona, general counsel for the New York State School Boards Association, said residents must be registered with either the local Board of Elections or the school district before polls open to be able to vote. If the person’s name is not in the registration book they cannot vote, but in some cases if a resident claims they did register and their name is not in the book, sometimes they are allowed to vote and then the vote is inspected later to see if it can be counted.

“You can’t just show up with identification and expect to vote,” he said.

The education law, much like general election law, also stipulates that electioneering cannot take place within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling location.

“Electioneering includes, but is not limited to, such activity as distributing or displaying a candidate's campaign materials or materials in support of or in opposition to any proposition,” the law reads.

The school district released a statement that said officials were aware of the complaints and acknowledged a review of them was taking place. It said RCS was just “one of many schools across the state from which complaints were submitted.”

“Unless an investigation is undertaken by the commissioner’s office that reveals a discrepancy in the results of the vote, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District will stand by the validity of our community’s vote of approval for the 2012-13 school year budget,” the statement read.

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