GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In both Warren and Washington counties, authorities this week are warning residents to take caution when interacting with anyone claiming to work for a board of elections. In the last week, both counties have received reports of individuals impersonating election officials.
Warren County described a local case where a county resident with a legal voter registration was visited by two women claiming to come from the Washington County Board of Elections. The individuals carried ID cards and left the woman with a New York State election complaint form.
The two North Country counties aren’t the only ones. The New York State Board of Elections announced on Wednesday that similar incidents have been seen in counties around the state.
“We are extremely alarmed by these actions,” said Board of Elections Co-Executive Director Raymond J. Riley III. “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.”
Residents worried about a similar encounter should know that there’s one easy way to determine whether a person is a real election official: If they’re making a home visit, they’re not Board of Elections staff. Legitimate election officials only interact with voters via telephone, email, mail, or Board of Elections offices. The state board of elections is classifying the incidents as second-degree criminal impersonation, a class A misdemeanor.
Both counties are now looking for further information regarding the impersonators in question. Anyone approached by someone questioning their registration should avoid interactions, but get a look at the identification being offered if possible. The counties are also looking for descriptions and license plate numbers of anyone identified as such.
“We want to assure all New Yorkers that any employee of the State or County Board of Elections would conduct themselves in a professional manner and willingly present identification when engaging with voters,” said State Board of Elections Co-Executive Director Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky. “When in doubt, please know you can always contact your State or County Board of Elections directly with any questions.”
Anyone with information relevant to the Warren and Washington County cases can reach out to Warren County Public Affairs Director Don Lehman at (518) 761-6563, or Washington County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Henke at (518) 746-2210. Other information and questions can be brought to the state Board of Elections at (518) 474-1953, or INFO@elections.ny.gov.