Is there a problem with affidavit ballots in Oneida County?

David Gordon is running for Oneida County executive, and Monday he came out and said there's an issue that needs to be addressed in the Board of Elections before Election Day rolls around.

Posted: Apr 15, 2019 12:39 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2019 6:18 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- David Gordon is running for Oneida County executive, and Monday he came out and said there's an issue that needs to be addressed in the Board of Elections before Election Day rolls around.

Republican candidate Dave Gordon says there is a big issue with affidavit ballots in Oneida County

He held a press conference Monday morning at Utica’s Union Station, which is in the same building as the Oneida County Board of Elections.

Gordon says when people went to a polling location in Oneida County on Election Day back on November 6, and they found out they were not on the list of registered voters, they could then fill out a provisional ballot, also known as an affidavit ballot in New York State.

They are then supposed to fill out that ballot and give it back to the elections workers, who will then put in its envelope and it will then be put with all of the absentee ballots.

In the event of a close race, where all of the absentee ballots and provisional ballots needed to be counted, those provisional ballots would be checked to make sure the person is actually a registered voter.

“What was happening is that people were taking those provisional affidavit ballots, they were filling it out. Some people filled out the envelope and gave them the empty envelope back to the workers, some went over and casted the ballot into the machine. That’s the true problem, because how many people did that? We don't know,” said Gordon.

He says this could mean the difference between winning and losing an election for any candidate.

When Gordon showed up for his press conference, he was told by sheriff's deputies that he needed to fill out a permit to hold the press conference inside a county building, which is the law.

Gordon argued that others have held similar events there and didn't fill out a permit, and he held the press conference without incident.

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol released the following statement to News Channel 2 Monday afternoon, “For decades, any person wishing to utilize county property for events of various kinds have always followed the process of getting a permit beforehand. Members of the Sheriff’s Office have always been available to explain the process to those that aren’t familiar with it, just as they did today with Dave Gordon. We did not stop his press conference and are currently reviewing whether or not a permit is required for this type of activity in a county owned building.”

Gordon says the affidavit ballots should be changed so they aren’t able to be scanned by the machine – something he says is already being done by Madison County.

NewsChannel 2’s Gary Liberatore called Madison County’s Board of Elections, and they say they will be ordering affidavit ballots that are unscannable, so that will take care of the problem.

But why isn't that the case in Oneida County? The Oneida County BOE said both commissioners have no comment on the issue.

WKTV also contacted current Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, whom Gordon is running against, and he says this is a Board of Elections issue and referred us to Oneida County Board of Elections Attorney Bob Pronteau.  Pronteau says the county will now be looking  into the possibility of having separate unscannable affidavit ballots.

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