Police investigate ballot fraud allegations in razor-thin Rensselaer mayoral race

As the final absentee ballots are being counted in Rensselaer County, allegations of ballot fraud are swirling.

A state police investigation is currently underway.

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State police would not elaborate on exactly what their investigation entails. However, the allegations seem to be similar to those we’ve heard before involving many other elections in many communities.

Any absentee ballot handling impropriety in this Rensselaer mayoral election is just an allegation.

We don’t know of any substantive evidence of nefarious activity. Presumably that is what state police are looking into.

At the Board of Elections in Troy Monday, there were 212 absentee ballots that needed to be counted.

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However, because there were objections to 129 of them, they couldn’t finalize the race.

A judge will decide which ballots can be counted and which ones need to be thrown out.

As of Monday evening, Stammel — the Republican incumbent leads Democratic challenger Richard Mooney by 11 votes.

However, with 129 uncounted absentee ballots, seven affidavit ballots, and an ongoing police investigation, this race is anything but over.

"I think the process is working the way the process is supposed to work, and I believe in the long run, all this impropriety stuff is going to disappear," said Stammel. "It’s no different than any other election, and I’ve been at this for a long time."

"It comes down to a matter of individuals being issued absentee ballots that they should not have been issued," said Joe Bonilla, Mooney’s spokesperson. "We are hoping and we have every bit of confidence in the state police in this investigation."

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Board of Elections officials say they expect to be able to count those 129 contested absentee ballots, possibly as early as this Friday.
The length of the state police investigation is unclear at this point.