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Breaking and Entering at the Board of Elections

There has been some shocking news recently about our Stuyvesant Town Supervisor. The information comes from our Democratic Board of Election Commissioner, Virginia Martin.

There are very strict regulations around secure, 24/7 storage of the new digital election machines. Those of us who have been trained as Election Inspectors know that  always having one Dem and one Republican on hand for all actions is standard operating procedure.

The new digital machines were to be moved this year, from secure storage at 325 Columbia St at the Health and Human Services Building over to the BoE at 401 State Street. The old gym was renovated to accommodate the 54 machines. Climate control was required and evidently, Ron helped Jason Natske, the Republican Commissioner at BoE locate AC units from a vendor in Albany at a price below what needs to be sent to bid. So far so good.

County employees picked up the unit components, transported, wired and installed them. Ron may have provided some oversight and maybe charged the freon in the system. Virginia relates that there is no record of Ron being paid for anything.

An elaborate locking system was installed---seems like one Dem lock and one Repub lock to insure bi-partisan security with Commissioners holding their respective keys.

One Saturday in May, Ron, with Facility Supervisor Bob Pinto, entered the secure voting machine area by having the locks drilled out. No one seems to know, after the fact, why this was done other than that Ron wanted to "check on equipment". There was no emergency. He did not alert either Commissioner. Staff discovered the break-in on Monday morning when Ron reported that he had keys for them for a replacement lock. Yet another hassle ensued as this "new" lock was not set up to be bi-partisan secured. The storage area was not appropriately secured until August.

With all the paranoia around the new digital machines and fears of them being "hacked", its a mystery why anyone would expose himself to being accused of tampering or of a needless breach of security. The larger question is--Was it breaking the law?

At a meeting last night, a thoroughly shocked Minority Supervisor Bill Hughes (D) said "If I'd tried something like that, they'd have me in handcuffs and my face would already be on the cover of the NY Post!" ---- Lee