A sitting Dutchess County elections commissioner pled not guilty earlier this week to 94 separate criminal charges related to her official duties in overseeing the county Board of Elections.
Fran Knapp faces 46 felony and 48 misdemeanor charges related to actions dating all the way back to 2008.
Via the Poughkeepsie Journal:
Dutchess County’s upcoming elections could be hindered by legal challenges and delays related to dozens of criminal charges facing one of its top election officials, the county executive said.
County officials face questions about ensuring the integrity of elections since Democratic Election Commissioner Fran Knapp faces a 94-count indictment alleging, among other things, state election-law violations.
“As a public official, she can make an independent decision, and I believe the right decision in the interim is to remove herself,” said County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican.
The allegations provide a “shadow of doubt on the operations of the board at what is a very critical time,” he added. The most serious charges facing 61-year-old Knapp include 45 class E felony counts of misconduct of an election officer, which relate to absentee voter records, according to the indictment.
A former Republican elections commissioner, David Gamache, was also charged with one felony and three misdemeanors from the 2010 elections.
While the more egregious violations clearly involving the sitting Democrat, this would be a great time to point out that voter fraud and the implementation of IDs should be a bipartisan goal to preserve the integrity of our elections.
An editorial in the Journal explains that both Knapp and Gamache continually created problems for voters in Dutchess County.
… there is no question their time together as commissioners was marked by continued controversies. There were lawsuits and recriminations. They argued over the backlog of voter registrations, over missed deadlines, over the rights of student voters and seemingly every other issue. At one point, they inexcusably failed to certify election results in a timely manner, thus disenfranchising Dutchess County’s votes in three state races.
Some have been calling for Knapp to step down, but she will likely let the process ride out. In New York, only the governor can step in to remove an election commissioner. For now, Cuomo’s press office has declined comment.
Don’t voters in New York deserve a better system that preserves the integrity of their vote for both Democrats and Republicans alike?