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.
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.”