Huntington Voter Integrity – Letter To The Editor
The Citizens Integrity Bureau, a Citizen Driven Community Watch Group.
Compiled by a Group of dedicated Huntington Registered voters and residents.
Written by: Nancy Gamby
After the November 5, 2013 election a group of citizens decided to do a Voter Integrity Check. We wanted to look into how the electoral process works, why “unofficial results” determine elections, and who decides what is official and what is unofficial. These citizens were from every walk of life, republican, democrat, libertarian, blanks, men and women, young and old!
On December 10. 2013 a Freedom of Information Law request was filed (FOIL) with the Suffolk Board of Elections in Yaphank for:
The complete compilation of polling participation sheets for each of the 178 Election Districts in the Township of Huntington, Suffolk County New York.
The election data disk for each of the 178 Election Districts in Huntington Town, which contains information regarding each voter including, but not limited to, name, date of birth, history of voter activity, and party affiliation.
Copies of, or access to, the voter signatory books, in their entirety, for the 178 Electoral Districts in the Town of Huntington, NY.
We were told that nothing is available until after the results of the election have been “Certified” and made official. We received only the information on ED 178 and not all 178 EDS. We received the first two items on our list approximately January 27th but no response on the third. We then filed an additional Freedom of Information Law request also for the Affidavits and Absentee Ballots envelopes.
After receiving the first information on January 27th 2014, the data we received was mixed together so it was not easily processed. They gave us way more then we asked for, leaving us with more data taking valuable time to sort through. We annihilated data of over 6 million records to find the 39,067 we needed for our query in 3 short months.
Eventually, on February 28 we went down to the Board of Elections and received the documents we asked for as well as the opportunity to view the Voter Signatory books of all the registered voters living within the Town of Huntington. These books contain the actual signatures of the voters from their most current Voter Registration Application as well as the signatures of when they actually voted at the polls. It took us about five weeks of a sustained effort to review all 39,067 signatures including all absentee ballots and affidavits.
The following is what we felt as a group were the most important issues that we would like to see corrected.
1. We found 2,452 signatures which appeared to not match the “official” signatures in the books.
2. 853 people were found to be deceased and are currently registered to vote in Huntington Township. Some have been deceased for twenty years or more. These records are being confirmed by the Social Security Death Index which is a federal database of all people across the country who are deceased. The name, zip code, middle name and other information was cross referenced to ensure an accurate match. (Our investigation continues).
3. Huntington had a 28.70% turnout in the 2013 November elections. There are 136,085 registered voters of which 39,067 voted in the last election. 28 Election Districts had a higher turnout, some up to 45% .These areas were mostly in the Northport area of Huntington which houses a LIPA power plant. The Town of Huntington is currently involved in a lawsuit with LIPA, The Long Island Power Company over a grievance of taxes.
4. We uncovered voters who own property in Huntington Township but appear to reside out of the voting district, yet still vote in the district. We are in the process of determining whether or not Huntington Township is their primary residence.
5. Many original signatures in the books were so small they were not legible and were not inputted properly by the Board of Elections.
6. Two complete election district signatory books are missing required voting machine numbers for every voter casting ballots.
7. One Absentee Ballot was counted but had no signature on the back of the envelope.
8. One Absentee Ballot signature was a stamp of a signature without a witness – and was counted.
9. One Absentee Ballot Voter also voted in person – both seem to have counted.
10. 131 people are currently registered to vote in Huntington that are also registered to vote in another state.
11. Our investigation revealed many women who are registered under their maiden name are signing their married name. There are notes written in the voter book to change their names, yet these are not followed up on as we were told.
12. We found signatures in the books that did not belong to the voter. Example: The book signature would be for Mary Smith, but the default signature in the book would read Tom Jones. The information going in the books is not 100% from the start.
Updated voter registration is necessary to provide integrity of the vote.
The Suffolk County Board of Elections was patient and welcoming regarding Board of Election policies and procedures and the time spent to inspect 39,067 signatures and related documents. We found them pleasant and helpful and lunch did seem to be the topic of the morning, but they accommodated all our needs including helping us locate Pizza and food delivery.
In conclusion, with 853 deceased voters on the rolls, 2452 signatures that appear not to match, 131 voters registered in multiple states, there is a real danger of tampering and possibility of multiple votes being cast. These issues need to be resolved. Longtime Board of Election employees stated they have never encountered an in depth probe this comprehensive and complete. We will be sending the Board of Elections documented data showing the deceased voters and the voters registered in multiple states so they can be removed from the rolls. We also will be sending suggestions on how to re-register women who are having frustration changing their names at the polls instead of a system that is not being followed through with.
Photo by Jennifer LaVertu