Republican candidate in New York’s gubernatorial race, Rep. Lee Zeldin (RN.Y.), who has backed former President Donald Trump’s claims of false election fraud, is facing claims that he won an extra line on the ballot in November’s election. Submitted fake signature for ,
According to the Gotham Gazette, the New York State Board of Elections in November revoked 12,868 of the 52,096 signatures submitted by Zeldin in his campaign effort to get the state’s Independence Party on the ballot line. Under New York’s voting system, candidates are allowed to appear on more than one party line on the ballot, the outlet reports.
The Hill reported that the signatures thrown put Zeldin just under the number of valid signatures needed to add a third party to the ballot at 45,000.
The action stemmed from a challenge by the Libertarian Party Secretary of State Andrew Colstee and an independent US Senate candidate, Diane Saare.
The news site reported that the Libertarian Party claimed that the more than 11,000 thrown up signatures were photocopies of previously submitted signatures.
“The Zeldin campaign’s attempt to deceive voters by filing thousands of photocopied signatures and presenting themselves as an independent campaign is a slap to New York State voters and the election process,” Colsti said in a statement.
According to the Albany Times-Union, if a judge overturns the board’s decision, Zeldin has an “outside shot” of getting on the line.
A spokesperson for Zeldin told the Gotham Gazette that the campaign denied making “any photocopies”.
Sarah Steiner, a veteran election attorney, told the news site that it did not surprise her that not all signatures on the petition were valid.
“Unless someone accidentally mixed in the pages they photocopied and then paginated them, in which case they would still be invalid, it’s a massive attempt at fraud,” Steiner said.
Jay Jacobs, the president of the state’s Democratic Party, noted to the Albany Times-Union that Zeldin supported Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims.
“Zeldine submitted 11,000 fake signatures, which emphasizes his hypocrisy and proves that he is willing to sell another ‘big lie’ to New Yorkers to benefit his failed campaign,” Jacobs said.
The newspaper reported that Zeldin’s campaign site has an Election Integrity Task Force page.
Zeldin was among Republicans in Congress who voted to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election after the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021.
He is set to stay on the Conservative Party line with his running mate – Lieutenant Governor candidate Alison Esposito – when he faces Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado in November.