Dead People Voted in Close Upstate New York Congressional Race: County Attorney

November 26, 2020 Updated: November 26, 2020

A county attorney based in Upstate New York alleged that dead people voted in a close congressional race that hasn’t yet been called, and a state elections official is seeking an investigation.

Madison County Attorney Tina Wayland-Smith said that election officials disqualified absentee ballots that were filed by three “deceased voters” in Madison County in a filing to New York Supreme Court Justice Scott Del Conte, referring to the congressional race between Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi and rival Republican Claudia Tenney, according to the New York Post.

Madison County is one of the eight counties that are included in New York’s 22nd District.

A New York State Board of Elections official, Doug Kellner, who is the co-chairman, has demanded an investigation.

“This is a known problem of voting by mail. It should be investigated,” he told the NY Post, referring to the “deceased voters” that allegedly cast ballots. He told the paper that it’s a crime for someone to mail in a ballot with the name of a dead person.

“It is an election fraud. It’s a felony,” he told the paper.

The campaigns of Brindisi and Tenney haven’t responded to a request for comment. The campaigns also declined to comment to the NY Post.

The paper noted that Tenney, a former U.S. congresswoman, led by 27,000 votes in a machine county, but when absentee ballots were tabulated, Brindisi nearly erased her lead.

Brindisi’s campaign told that his campaign took a lead over Tenney by 12 or 13 votes.

“Election results from the remaining counties in the district show Anthony Brindisi has now taken the lead,” Brindisi’s campaign said in a statement. “We are hopeful that once New York’s 22nd congressional district is certified, Representative Brindisi will be sworn in again to continue his bipartisan work on behalf of this district.”

Tenney’s campaign told the outlet that her opponent’s claims are “misleading and inaccurate,” citing invalid votes.

“Those ballots should not—and must not—be counted. The hearing in court has already established that the current tally includes invalid votes and that the process to review and count the massive amount of paper ballots is fractured,” Tenney spokesman Sean Kennedy said in a statement. “Today’s misleading and inaccurate tally is rife with errors and mistakes that must be rectified before this election is certified. It is far from final.”

The campaign didn’t make mention of the alleged deceased voters casting ballots.

On Wednesday, Judge Del Conte ordered eight counties in the 22nd District to update their ballot counts and send them to the court.