The national media paid attention today to the alleged ballot tampering in Erie County, and Republican County Executive Chris Collins took advantage of it in a Fox News appearance to harshly criticize his Democratic opponent, Mark C. Poloncarz. Poloncarz, in turn, blasted Collins.
The alleged tampering centers around at least 10 ballots mailed to absentee voters in Lackawanna who complained the ballots were already marked for Collins on either the Republican or Independence lines.
The investigation is focused on a Democratic clerk at the Erie County Board of Elections, but county sheriff’s investigators have emphasized that they do not suspect the tampering was linked in any way to the campaigns of either Collins or Poloncarz.
“What we’ve seen in the last week leading up to the elections is a disturbing trend of dirty tricks and outright election fraud here in Buffalo and Erie County that involves my opponent and his supporters, a Democrat operative in the Erie County Board of Elections and also the executive director of the New York State Democratic Party,” Collins said in an interview on a brief Fox News segment known as “Voter Fraud Watch.”
Poloncarz was invited but did not appear on the show.
His campaign did issue a written statement, saying that the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has said neither campaign was involved in the alleged tampering and contending that Collins lied by falsely accusing Poloncarz.