Working Families Party accused of ballot fraud in Troy, NY

The Albany Times Union reported on 9/26/09 about a Troy absentee voting scandal related to dozens of forged, fraudulent WFP primary election ballots. Evidence from the county Board of Elections show that “the fraudulent ballots were handled by or prepared on behalf of various elected officials and leaders and operatives for the Democratic and Working Families parties.”

TROY — Dozens of forged and fraudulent absentee ballots from people registered to vote on the Working Families Party line were filed in the Sept. 15 primary elections in Troy, the Times Union has learned.

Many of the questionable ballots were filed under the names of students and people who live in government-subsidized housing and other downtown areas. Still others were submitted on behalf of voters who were alleged to have signed the ballots earlier this month, but those people have not lived in New York state for at least a year, records show.

Documents at the county Board of Elections show the fraudulent ballots were handled by or prepared on behalf of various elected officials and leaders and operatives for the Democratic and Working Families parties. A Troy housing authority employee, Anthony Defiglio, who sources said oversees vacant properties for the Troy Housing Authority, also handled many of the fraudulent ballots, according to public records and interviews with voters who said they were duped.

Victor Gonzalez, a resident of Griswold Heights, told the Times Union he was visited several weeks ago by Defiglio and another man who asked him to sign an absentee ballot application. Gonzalez is registered on the WFP line. But Gonzalez, like many other people interviewed, never saw, signed or submitted the absentee ballot later filed at the Board of Elections under his name.

Also, someone else wrote on the Gonzalez’s ballot application that he couldn’t vote in person because of a work conflict.

”I’ve been out of work for about six to eight months. I’ve been laid off and looking for work,” he said.

There may be as many as 50 absentee ballots that were forged, according to people close to the case. Countywide, there were 126 absentee ballots applied for on the Working Families Party line.

The third-party WFP line has become a key battleground between the Republicans and Democrats in Troy. The scandal is unfolding in a year when the city council’s nine seats are up for grabs with 19 candidates, including nine Republicans and nine Democrats. Six at-large county legislative seats in Troy also are on the line this year with 12 candidates.

Attorneys consulted by the Times Union who are familiar with voter-fraud issues said the allegations surfacing in Troy may be unprecedented here and could result in criminal prosecutions.

Two of the absentee ballots reviewed by the newspaper carry addresses in Griswold Heights, a public housing complex, and are attributed to residents who have not lived there for years, records show. One of the ballots is listed under the name of Milagros Serrano, 44, who left Griswold Heights in October 2007 and now lives in Hollywood, Fla., records show.

The signature attributed to Serrano on the ballot looks nothing like her signature from a voter registration card filed several years ago at the Board of Elections. The hand-written excuse allegedly provided by Serrano for not voting in person in the primary states: ”Dartmouth Hos. doctor appt.”

Many other ballot applications also include fictitious reasons why the person needed an absentee ballot, including casino bus trips, Cape Cod vacations, work conferences and medical ailments. Several voters interviewed by the newspaper said someone wrote the information without their knowledge.

Some of the suspicious absentee ballots list Defiglio as the person who could pick it up for the voter. Residents of Griswold Heights said he is a familiar figure around those complexes. Other ballots were handled by, or returnable to, Democratic or WFP party officials, or candidates for citywide office, including: Troy Council President Clement Campana; City Clerk William McInerny; Councilman Gary Galuski; Rensselaer County WFP Chairman James Welch; council candidates Michael LoPorto and Kevin McGrath; and Tom Aldrich, a LoPorto campaign volunteer.

Welch, the county’s WFP chairman, declined to speak with a reporter on Friday evening.

“I’m with my family. Another time, sir,” Welch said and then hung up the telephone.

Affidavits signed by some of the hijacked voters are included in a related lawsuit filed Wednesday by Rensselaer County Republicans through Christian Lambertsen, a WFP candidate for City Council. The lawsuit seeks to have the ballots thrown out.

The ballot investigation was initiated by Robert Mirch, a Troy county legislator and Republican party operative. Mirch said he was alerted to the suspicious ballots on Sept. 14 by an elections official. He hired two private investigators from Loudonville and they began unraveling the fraud last week.

Peter Testa, a Fourth Street shop owner, told an investigator an absentee ballot in his name was forged when it was filed. Testa said he voted in person on primary day, unaware someone had apparently stolen his identity the day before.

His signature on the ballot application was forged, Testa said. A section of the document that asks ”Where will you be on election day?” it states, in someone else’s handwriting: ”Job Interview – Boston.”

”That is a complete falsehood,” Testa said in a deposition.

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25 thoughts on “Working Families Party accused of ballot fraud in Troy, NY

  1. Eric Dondero

    Connection to ACORN perhaps?

    Question. How often does one see a newspaper headline:

    “Libertarian Party accused of ballot fraud…”


    “Constitution Party accused of faking voter registrations…”

    Voter fraud is entirely an operation of the Left, and of Leftwing Parties, most notably the Democrat Party USA.

  2. libertariangirl

    oh gee , here it comes Im gonna side with E on this one.

    Over all the years of doing voter drives , working elections , doing drives on campus and yes having the dubious distinction of being the only Libertarian running a Rock the Vote Street Team ( they didnt know when they hired me) , its been my experience that the Dems play the dirtiest.

    of course Bush did steal the election so I think that counts as voter fraud

  3. Dave Schwab Post author

    Dems play dirty, but that doesn’t make Repubs any better. Remember the stolen 2000 election, when the Florida GOP illegally removed tens of thousands of African-American voters from the voting rolls?

    What about the stolen 2004 election, when the Ohio GOP targeted heavily African-American precincts for voter suppression?

    It’s all documented in American Blackout:

  4. libertariangirl

    i do rememer the stolen election which is why it was my last sentence .

    I can only speak to my experiences .

  5. VAGreen

    “Voter fraud is entirely an operation of the Left, and of Leftwing Parties, most notably the Democrat Party USA.”

    You would make a good New England Patriots fan: My team never, ever cheats. They never, ever get lucky. They never, ever benefit from bad calls. Every single victory that my team wins is purely because of talent and grit.

    Both the left and the right engage in election fraud, but they prefer different methods.

    The left: Vote early and vote often.

    The right: Somehow you didn’t end up on the voter rolls. I wonder how that could have happened.

  6. Jeremy Young

    Dems play the dirtiest

    That’s definitely true in the South, even in the border South. But I’m not certain it’s true elsewhere. In Southern Maryland I saw some pretty damn dirty machine-style politics, but in Arizona the Dems always seemed to be above-board.

  7. citizen1

    I do not think that it is only left leaning parties. I think that is establishment candidates which often the WFP is because they just endorse Dems for the the most part.

  8. The Last Conservative

    LG, the reason why you feel that Democrats play dirty is that you are in Nevada. In Nevada, the only people who are Democrats are degenerate deviant sinners, who patronize the den of Satan, the Las Vegas cacinos. Republicans are god-fearing people of the Lord and would never be corrupt.

  9. libertariangirl

    they all play dirty , im just sayin , I worked for Rock the Vote and saw them in action . Ive never worked for a voter drive run by republicans. so thats my experience

  10. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home

    When the Deform Party of California lost it’s ballot access earlier this century [thanks: Patrick Buchanan and the agents provocateur of the high profile national convention in Long Beach (California) in the simmer, summer of 2000] California GOP demigod McCormick immorally [and falsely] sent official looking notices to thousands of RfPCa registrants stating FALSELY that they were no longer members of an official political party and would be welcomed [Don Lake’s words] in the cold embrace of the fascist thugs of the GOP!

  11. paulie

    Here’s the email alluded to further up

    Dan Levitan to contact.ipr
    show details 9:02 PM (23 hours ago)
    Your headline is a little misleading – It isn’t accurate to say that the WFP has been accused of voter fraud. There has been fraud in the WFP election, but it seems the Democrats are responsible:

    Sunday’s updated Times Union story:

    More coverage:

    You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Independent Political Report” group.
    To post to this group, send email to
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  12. Michael Cavlan

    Eric Dondero is usually such an idiot that there is no point in answering his points. His head is so fully ensconced up his ass that his colon presses against his ears, so the idiot could not hear what you are saying.

    Having said that his idiotic ramblings, picked up from his Fox News induced haze of ignorance needs to be challenged this time.

    According to this bright bulb, it is only the “left” that are accused of election fraud. Ok, that may be true in Fox News Land, but right here in the real world, that fact could not be farther from the truth.

    Now remember, I HATE Democrats so this is no defense of them.

    I was an Official Green Party observer in Ohio 2004. Among the myriad ways that right wingers stole THAT election was by, what can only be called “stop the nigra’s and poor folks from voting.” In a blatant, organized and systematic way all over the country. With SOS’s using their power to ensure that black communities and poor neighborhoods did not have access to the right to vote and have their vote counted.

    Then there was the “questionable” practices of Triad, ES&S and Die-bold voting machine technicians and of the machines themselves.

    In one precinct in Toledo County, Ohio of the 800 people who voted, 3,500 voted for GW Bush. This is one that we actually caught. How many we never found because of the spinelessness (or complicity) of the Democrats, we will never know.

    As an aside, I watched Glen Beck on Fox News today. Oh my dear God, these folks are unbelievable.

    Dumb as dirt and with less common sense than what God granted to turnips.

  13. Skyler McKinley


    You are no longer politically relevant. I appreciate that you have your opinions, and I appreciate indulging in them from time to time. However, broad generalizations aren’t going to help you become relevant again.

    I submit to you these headlines:

    Analyst: GOP voter fraud scandal ‘really serious’

    McCain Employing GOP Operative Accused Of
    Voter Registration Fraud

    Voter Fraud Charges Out West. GOP Group Under Investigation In Oregon

    Five Kentucky Election Officials Arrested for Election Fraud Using ES & S ivotronic touchscreen

    The list goes on an on. Inherent in political parties is the urge to *win* elections. Whereas we assume the leadership of these parties will choose the moral and ethical path when it comes to elections, there will always be outlying examples of fraud regardless of the party or circumstance. To say anything to the contrary is nothing short of folly.

  14. Lou Novak

    I gotta agree with Michael on this one. After the 2000 and 2004 presidential election fiascos, anyone who thinks election fraud is only on the left has their head up their ass.

  15. Steven R Linnabary

    Voter fraud is entirely an operation of the Left, and of Leftwing Parties, most notably the Democrat Party USA.

    Eric, I’ll be the first to admit that election and petition laws are written in such a convoluted manner as to invite either fraud, or the appearance of fraud.

    I have never been accused of faking signatures. I seem to recall that YOU have been accused of this, and it made national news.

    Were you working for the democrats or some lefty organization when this happened?

    FWIW, I don’t think you did anything wrong. But there is an old adage about those that live in glass houses…


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