Officials Raise Concerns Over ‘Election Integrity’ Group
There are reports of individuals reportedly visiting households, saying they are with a “Chautauqua County Voter Integrity” organization. Officials want residents to know that they are not county employees and they are not authorized through the county or the board of elections.
“We were made aware of the situation on Saturday and we turned it over to the Attorney General’s Office and to the Sheriff’s Department,” explained county Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram.
Abram said both he and county Democratic Election Commissioner Luz Torres spoke to a household in Busti that said they were approached by people who said they were volunteers with the county Voter Integrity group and produced a badge. “They have nothing to do with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. They have nothing to do with us as far as how the process works here in New York state,” he said.
Abram said he does not know who these “Integrity” members are nor does he know of any outside organization that has an established “voter integrity” committee. Both he and Luz said the county Democratic and Republican parties do not have such a committee.
“I never heard of them until Saturday. I never knew they existed. I don’t know if it really is a group or it is some individuals who is just calling themselves something. It’s hard to say at this point,” he said. “Both me and Luz, have never heard of a group doing this. It’s not us. It’s not part of the process for voting so we’re just trying to make people aware that this isn’t how we operate.”
Torres said she first learned about the situation from the county Democratic Committee. “I ended up calling them and assuring them it’s not us,” she said.
Abram said the group members apparently asked this household, which had two registered voters, to confirm where they lived in the past and where they are registered to vote today.
After hearing about the incident, the Board of Elections posted a notice on their website. The full notice reads as follows:
“Any individuals claiming to verify voting information for the November 8, 2022 General Election are not in any way related to or employed by the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. There is reports of a ‘voter integrity’ group going door to door and these individuals are not part of regular Election Activities.
“All voters who are registered by October 14, as Election Law specifies, are eligible to vote in the November 8, 2022 General Election. ID is NOT required in New York State and proof of identity is your signature comparison at the poll site. If you have moved and not notified the Board of Elections, please go to your NEW poll site, where you will be required to vote via Provisional Affidavit Ballot.
“The Chautauqua County Sheriff Office has been made aware of this situation.”
The notice was also placed on the county Board of Elections Facebook page and County Executive PJ Wendel’s electric “Monday Memo” email.
Both Abram and Torres declined to speculate as to the group’s intentions for asking such questions or if they believe any laws have been broken.