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Westchester election officials weigh in on mail-in ballot debate

Should voters be concerned about mail-in ballots and the possibility of voter fraud on primary day?

News 12 Staff

May 28, 2020, 11:34 PM

Updated 1,481 days ago

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Should voters be concerned about mail-in ballots and the possibility of voter fraud on primary day?
There are mixed reviews about increasing the number of mail-in ballots in the June 23 primary elections.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an  executive order on April 24 requiring state election officials to send absentee ballot applications to all voters amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
New Yorkers need an excuse to vote absentee under normal circumstances, but for the June 23 primary, no excuse is needed. 
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President Donald Trump has made it clear he does not want his November election to ride on mail-in ballots, tweeting, "There is no way (zero!) that mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed..."
News 12 asked Douglas Colety, Westchester's Republican commissioner of elections, if he agrees with the tweet that increasing absentee ballots will also lead to fraudulent voting.
 
"The safest, most secure way of voting is voting by machine. voting absentee ballot in New York state, there are a lot of checks and balances in place, there is the vehicle for candidates to inspect and challenge those ballots," he says. 
Colety and his colleague on the other side of the aisle, Reginald Lafayette, said both parties are in the room when absentee votes are counted.
"These ballots are checked with both Republicans and Democrats and 90% of the time, side by side," says Lafayette.
 
But Colety says, "Mail-in voting would be a problem if the voting was done without the same checks and balances that absentee voting would have."
 
When it comes to the president and his allegations, Lafayette says he should learn more about the voting process.
 
No decision on absentee ballots has been made for the November election. 
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