© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State Board of Elections issues warning about fake staff members going door-to-door

Jason Smith
WRVO News (file photo)

The New York State Board of Elections is tracking a number of complaints regarding people going door-to-door, impersonating county Board of Elections staff members.

A spokesperson said the investigation is a developing situation, and it appears to be part of a "coordinated, consistent pattern of activity."

In central and northern New York, elections officials have fielded complaints in Onondaga and Jefferson counties. Other affected counties include Chautauqua, Ontario, Putnam, Saratoga, Steuben, Warren, and Washington.

Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said when he heard people were going door-to-door impersonating elections staff across the state, workers put out a social media blast and learned that it’s happening here.

"It is kind of concerning now that we've learned that there's at least two incidents of this happening, and I'm sure there's more. These kinds of things often go unreported," Czarny said.

Officials said they have received complaints that fake staff members are knocking on doors, confronting voters regarding their registration status, and erroneously accusing voters of committing a crime because of how they appear in the state voter database.

Czarny said while he can’t talk about the specifics of any particular case, there seems to be a general pattern.

"We have these groups of people who are trying to prove voter fraud and are getting data from the state that they do not understand," he said.

Czarny said theOnondaga County Board of Elections will never send people to your door to check your information.

In a statement responding to the complaints, Raymond J. Riley III, Co-Executive Director of the State Board of Elections, said, “We are extremely alarmed by these actions. These individuals are impersonating government officials in an effort to intimidate voters based on inaccurate and misleading information. We strongly encourage those engaging in these activities to cease immediately.”

Officials said if you're approached by a person claiming to be a staff member from a Board of Elections, immediately ask to see identification. If the person refuses or is otherwise suspicious, the State Board of Election is asking voters to collect as much information as possible without providing any personal information and contact the police.

Criminal impersonation in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor in New York State.

State Board of Elections officials say they're working closely with the counties to track and monitor any additional complaints.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.