This story has been updated.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- In light of recent allegations of nominating petition fraud against several state government candidates, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey’s campaign finds the allegations against opponent Chris Day (R-Palisades) to be “deeply concerning."
Meanwhile Day, Lowey’s 29-year-old challenger who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, is calling Lowey a hypocrite who is also guilty of similar accusations.
“The democratic process is at the base of our country's foundation and any corruption of that process should be carefully examined,” said Matt LaFortune, the Democratic congresswoman’s campaign manager for her re-election to a 14th term.
Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), who also is running on the Working Families Party line, first was elected to represent New York's 17th District in 1988.
“I think it’s distributing they’d (Lowey’s camp) try to gain political points in the last weeks before the election for the same things they engaged in earlier this year,” said Day, vice president of Selway Capital, a marketing investment firm that works with Israel-based companies.
Day was manager for his father Ed Day’s campaign for Rockland county executive. He is currently running on the Republican and Conservative lines, but didn’t get enough signatures to be put on the StopCommonCore line.
The Daily News recently reported that Jenise Jett of Manhattan was among dozens, including her two adult children, who were told to sign as witnesses on petitions that already were filled out.
A complaint filed with the New York State Board of Elections alleges Jett said she was paid $12 to sign as a witness on “StopCommonCore” ballot petitions for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and Republican state Senate candidates Joe Dillon and Terrence Murphy, as well as for Day, even though she never was present when the petitions were signed.
The nominating petitions came from Albany, Westchester and Rockland counties. The law requires a witness to be present and see each individual sign the nomination petition to prevent fraud.
State Sen. George Latimer (D-Rye), who is being challenged by Dillon for his 35th District seat, has called for an investigation of the matter. He has handed over materials for an investigation to the offices of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore and the enforcement counsel of the state Board of Elections.
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Day said he wasn’t aware of any deliberate fraud in regards the verification of StopCommonCore petitions, and that mistakes are often made during the signature collecting process.
“I don’t know whether this was a centralized effort or not," said Day. “If so, that’s not acceptable. I’d imagine, however, it’s the same thing that happened to Lowey in the Independence Party Line. You can’t control every person that collects signatures for you.”
Day’s petitions for the Preserve Hudson Party and Lowey’s petitions for the Independence parties both were rejected for discrepancies such as signatures from individuals outside the district or false signatures, causing each candidate to lose the respective lines.
“It’s a matter of hypocrisy, trying to make a big issue of something that already occurred by Ms. Lowey’s campaign,” said Day.
Both parties accuse each other of trying to manipulate voters before the election.
"Instead of taking responsibility for his campaign's actions, Chris Day is looking for someone to blame,” said LaFortune. “It is disappointing that he is trying to mislead voters about these very serious allegations of fraud."
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