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Latimer Calls For Probe Of Senate Challenger Over Petitions

Republican Joe Dillon, left, and state Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, during last week's League of Women Voters forum in Mamaroneck. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
A nominating petition signed and initialed by Jenise Jett. Photo Credit: Contributed

RYE, N.Y. -- State Sen. George Latimer called for an investigation Wednesday, Oct. 15, into allegations of election fraud involving someone who signed nominating petitions for Republican candidates for two state Senate seats and in the 17th Congressional District.

The Rye Democrat cited a Tuesday report in the New York Daily News that election fraud may have occurred while collecting "StopCommonCore" ballot petitions for Republican candidates Joe Dillon and Terrence Murphy for state Senate and Rob Astorino for governor.

Latimer, who is being challenged by Dillon for the 35th District seat, called for the state Board of Elections to investigate.

Jenise Jett of Manhattan told the Daily News that she and her two adult children were among two dozen people in a room who were handed "already-filled-out" petitions to add their signatures to as witnesses. By law, a witness must watch every person as he/she signs a nominating petition to prevent election fraud.

"If fraud was perpetrated, it wasn't done by one or two people; like Watergate, it was a conspiracy of a number of people that planned and/or condoned these actions," Latimer said.  "The public deserves to know who did what in the Dillon campaign, and who is culpable under the law."

Dillon, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, sought a fourth ballot line called "StopCommonCore", as did other GOP candidates aligned with Westchester County Executive Astorino's bid for governor.

Dillon was knocked off the Stop Common Core ballot line last month after the Westchester County Board of Elections found his petitions lacked enough valid signatures.

Dillon spokesman T.J. McCormack said the campaign was unaware of any possible improprieties.

"Mr. Dillon has made cleaning up Albany's corruption part of his campaign message. He can start first by cleaning up the potential corruption in his own campaign," Latimer spokesman Brian Hegt said.

Materials required for an investigation were turned over to the offices of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore and the enforcement counsel of the state Board of Elections, according to Latimer's campaign.

Falsely witnesses ballot line petitions also were collected for Murphy, the Republican candidate for the 40th Senate District and  Christopher Day, aRepublican challenging U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey for the 17th Congressional District seat.

The activity allegedly extended to Albany, Westchester and Rockland counties, where the nominating petitions were filed.

Earlier news coverage revealed problems Dillon has had with personal finance including foreclosure proceedings on his Yonkers home.

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