Michele Sardo, Republican commissioner at the Onondaga County Board of Elections, and Dustin Czarny, the Democratic commissioner, don't always agree. But they are in total accord when it comes to opposing fraud.
“I think its incredibly sad that people have to go around and impersonate my staff, our staff here, saying that they’re part of our office and questioning voters on their registration," Sardo said.
“It is one of the more vile things that I’ve seen in my 10 years as commissioner," Czarny said.
The commissioners could only guess as to a motive. But Czarny said the impersonators are misunderstanding voter-registration rules.
"They think that people are registered twice, once in another county and in this county, which happens at times, but it’s usually a result of them switching counties and the old county hasn’t yet caught up to the new county’s registration,” Czarny said.
In the Capital Region, two impersonators approached a woman who had just moved to Warren County, claiming she had illegally registered to vote.
If you have just moved, Czarny said it’s legal to have your voter registration lapse, as long as you’re not voting in two different counties. The Board of Elections' (BOE) goal is to make sure elections are safe and secure.
“We’re not some nefarious group plotting to overtake elections," Czarny said. "We are bound by our professional ethics to provide the best and most accurate results possible, and our people are dedicated servants that are willing to do so."
If someone comes to your home pretending to be with the BOE, remember: “The Board of Elections will never send staff to your home," said Czarny. "We just don’t do that.”
An investigation is underway.
“You can’t impersonate other people, and hopefully, the proper authorities will take care of this," said Sardo.
In a statement, the New York State BOE said if you’re approached by someone claiming to be from the state or a county Board of Elections, you should immediately request identification and try to get as much information as possible while not providing any personal info. You’re asked to call local law enforcement to report the incident.