Politics

Onondaga County Continues Measures to Secure Polls

By Meghan Mistry SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)—Amidst allegations of nationwide voter fraud and election rigging by GOP candidate Donald Trump, the Onondaga County Board of Elections is working to ensure a fair general election.

“We’re doing what we always do,” Dustin Czarny, Democratic Election Commissioner, said. “We’ve got a bipartisan team of election officials every step of the way—whether its voter registration, absentee voters, or right up until the polling place on election day or preparing the machines.”

Czarny said that a team of both Democratic and Republican election monitors ensures that neither party can do anything at the polls that the other wouldn’t appreciate.

According to Czarny, there are few instances of voter fraud, and often times what they’ve suspected as voter fraud has simply been mistakes. Czarny said the election rigging and voter fraud claimed by Trump is simply unheard of.

“Most of the time when we’ve suspected voter fraud it’s been error,” he said. “Someone signing in the book with the same name. A father signing for a son when they have the same name. But in the common lexicon of massive voter fraud that just does not happen”

The Board of Elections is also taking steps to make sure there’s no voter intimidation at the polls.

“If [an election inspector is] at the polls with any kind of paraphernalia, they’ll be asked to leave,” Czarny said. “If they’re a voter they’ll be asked to hide it while they vote.”

Though Onondaga County doesn’t feel it’s necessary to put in place extra precautions this election, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a video that less election inspectors will be released nationwide this year.

Thomas Keck, a professor of constitutional law at Syracuse University, explains that this is because of a Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County vs. Holder that gutted Section Four of the Voting Rights Act.

According to Keck, the decision reigned in the Federal Justice Department’s authority on election law, leaving it up to states to choose what laws they enact.

“The Federal Justice Dept. has said because they don’t have the authority to pre-clear, to approve those election law changes in these states anymore they don’t have the legal justification for sending in election monitors,” he said.

Keck said this ruling will mostly affect the number of election inspectors issued to swing states and battle ground states.

Because New York wasn’t a state listed in the ruling, nor is a swing state, Keck says the Justice Department’s announcement won’t have much of an effect on the state’s polling places.