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Election officials warn of people impersonating staff, confronting voters at home


The New York State Board of Elections has received reports from 13 counties that people are impersonating election officials and confronting voters.

State Board of Elections Director of Public Information Kathleen McGrath said the reports detail people impersonating officials, going door to door and asking to see voters' identification.

“They are demanding to see the voter's license, their identification, and the individuals claim that this particular voter is committing a crime by being registered to vote in multiple places in New York state,” McGrath told WSKG.

McGrath said in each case they’ve seen, the Board of Elections has been able to verify that the voter was properly registered. The state’s voter roll just hadn’t been updated with the most recent county voter rolls to reflect the person moving from an old address to a new one.

She said while the reports are coming in from a variety of counties across the state, they do have a pattern.

“It's certainly appearing to be a coordinated effort by folks,” McGrath said. “We haven't been able to entirely confirm a group. There are suspicions of groups that have concerns with the New York voter rolls.”

McGrath said to report any suspicious activity to local authorities.

“Certainly always ask for identification to prove if someone is with the state board, any legitimate board, or the county board. Any legitimate board employee would gladly provide their identification if they were interacting with you,” McGrath said. “And then, if something feels off, certainly communicate that with your local law enforcement. Loop your county board of elections in.”

Incidents have been reported in Albany, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Putnam, Saratoga, Schenectady, Steuben, Suffolk, Warren, and Washington counties.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.