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North Country Republican elections commissioner brushes off Stefanik's claim of voting irregularities

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo

Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-Schuylerville) campaign is casting doubt on the integrity of the election at polling places in Washington County, but the county's Republican election commissioner says it's simply an issue with their printers.

"It has nothing to do with integrity," said Tom Rogers, the Republican commissioner for the Washington County Board of Elections.

"What we had discovered this morning is that we had seven towns that had printed ballots where the machine didn't want to read the ballot," Rogers explained. "It has nothing to do with fraud."

Tom Rogers is the Republican elections commissioner in Washington County
Tom Rogers is the Republican elections commissioner in Washington County

Rogers said the issue was with the printers and potentially with the way some ballots were cut — not quite square — which led the machine to reject those ballots.

Instead of being fed into the ballot machine, they were put into the emergency ballot box, which Rogers said is "just as secure" as the ballot machine. The ballots in the emergency ballot box will be counted by hand.

Stefanik's campaign issued a statement around noon on Election Day. "The Elise for Congress campaign has been notified of serious election integrity issues in certain polling locations in Washington County," it read.

It included a phone number for the "New York Election Integrity Hotline," which does not appear to be connected to the NYS Board of Elections.

While the release from Stefanik's campaign did explain that it was a printing issue in Washington County, it continued on to say the campaign was "exploring all legal options to ensure every legal vote, and only legal votes, are accurately and lawfully counted."

Rogers said every vote will be accurately counted in Washington County. "Every ballot that people have come in today and filed, whether it went through the machine or went through an emergency ballot [box] will be counted," Rogers explained. "There is no integrity problem here."

While he said he hadn't seen the release from Stefanik's campaign, Rogers said he had received multiple phone calls from campaign staffers and other voters.

"I'm here to run an election, I'm here to assist the people that call, which includes the candidates," said Rogers, "but this has just been a little overwhelming for everybody."

Emily Russell covers the Adirondack State Park for NCPR.