GOP Trickster Caught Before Affecting the NY 23rd Congressional Race

The NY 23rd congressional race is in the national news again for the wrong reasons.

Mother Jones reported today (May 2)  that a NRCC video tracker who had been assigned to the Reed campaign illegally allegedly passed Primary petitions for two Green Party candidates. Aaron Andrew Keister, the video tracker, is a registered republican, not a member of the Green Party which is a requirement for passing Green Party petitions.  (Update: Since Keister is a Notary Public, he could legally “Affirm the voters signatures”.) The candidates were surprised when the NYS Board of Elections notified them that their petitions would not be accepted, since they didn’t know anything about them!  One petition was turned in a day late; the other petition listed the candidate’s address incorrectly. He only needed 70 registered Green Party voters to sign each petition.

Besides being illegal, if this fraudster succeeded, it would have been costly to the eleven counties of the NY23rd. Yates County, and probably others in the district, would have had no need for a primary except for the Green Party race. There are 48 registered Green Party voters in Yates County, and the primary would have cost around $8000.

Candidates have only four days after the petition has been filed to withdraw their name. If either of the inspecting Green Party candidates’ name appeared on the ballot, they would  votes away from Martha Robertson. This is expected to be a tight race, and every votes counts.

Reed’s campaign pointed out that the video tracker was never on Reed’s campaign staff—he worked for the NRCC. The NRCC acknowledged that Keister worked for them from to June through December, and received $1,300 as a video tracker.* They denied that Keister was affiliated with them when he got the signatures. An complaint of official misconduct has not yet been filed with the New York State Board of Elections.

The Mother Jones article has more details on this story. It also tells of other instances that the GOP  has used the Green Party to take votes away from democrats.

* According to the Elmira Star Gazette, “Keister … received $768.47 in pay on March 19 from the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee.” and “That state GOP-run committee received a $2,000 donation from the congressional campaign committee of Republican Rep. Tom Reed of Corning two weeks earlier on March 5.”

 

Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle article

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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11 Responses to GOP Trickster Caught Before Affecting the NY 23rd Congressional Race

  1. josephurban says:

    I am sure that the GOP is OUTRAGED at this attempted voter fraud ! I expect Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin,Tom Reed, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to make public statements and demand a full investigation . After all, eliminating voter fraud of any kind is one of their mantras. Can’t wait for the outpouring of outrage!

  2. Deb Meeker says:

    “They [NRCC] denied that Keister was affiliated with them when he got the signatures.”
    “Reed’s campaign pointed out that the video tracker was never on Reed’s campaign staff—”

    Neither of these statements disavows knowledge of, or responsibility for these shenanigans.
    So tired of Teflon Tom and the rest of his crowd getting elected with dirty tricks and a House Ethics Committee that cheers them on.

  3. Anne says:

    If, as the Mother Jones article states, it’s true that the Reed office won’t deny knowing about this guy’s efforts with these petitions, I think the right thing for Reed to do is offer his resignation from Congress. As NE regional chair of the NRCC, Reed had to have known what was afoot.

  4. whungerford says:

    This is said to be a safe district for Tom; he has no need to resort to negative advertising and dirty tricks. The GOP must think Reed is in more trouble than they care to admit.

  5. whungerford says:

    Brian Tumulty, writing in the Elmira Star-Gazette, reports that “Keister, who lives in Corning, received $768.47 in pay on March 19 from the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee.” If he didn’t work for them this year, what was he paid for?

    • pystew says:

      According to the same article, “That state GOP-run committee (New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee” received a $2,000 donation from the congressional campaign committee of Republican Rep. Tom Reed of Corning two weeks earlier on March 5.” I wonder if that is normal.

  6. whungerford says:

    Section 6-132 of the election law specifies that the petition must be circulated by a registered member of the party. It also allows a notary to witness signatures, but only if a prescribed statement is attached and an oath is administered. Unless Mr. Keister identified himself as a notary, attached the required statement, and administered an oath, his activities might indeed be illegal. Even if he followed the rules, his activities are clearly unethical.

    http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/law/2014NYElectionLaw.pdf

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