Vegliante Legal Team: Rappaport Campaign Harvested Ballots
Updated: Jan 7
An election law attorney for Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante on Tuesday filed multiple documents in State Supreme Court yesterday alleging that Preserve Sullivan challenger Katherine Rappaport's campaign harvested ballots - and included exhibits that allegedly show voters without valid local addresses.
Vegliante led by 406 votes after polls closed on Election Day before the start of canvassing and the counting of absentee ballots. Rappaport filed a lawsuit on November 12 and that was followed two days later by a countersuit by Vegliante. In late November, attorneys for both sides agreed that Vegliante's lead had been reduced to between 96 and 100 votes.
The case is before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Mark Meddaugh, who held a brief conference on Tuesday with the parties. The Board of Elections is a defendant in the matter and is being represented by Deputy County Attorney Thomas Cawley. The outcome of the case will also decide which two candidates win seats on the Fallsburg town board.
In a memorandum of law filed Tuesday in opposition to Rappaport's motion for summary judgment, Vegliante attorney A. Joshua Ehrlich wrote:
"The dual registration issue is here because there was a deliberate campaign to "harvest absentee ballots" in this race. "
Ehrlich wrote that three people collected and returned at least 166 absentee ballots to the Board of Elections.
"Upon information and belief Abe Rutner, Abe Rosenberg and Yermia Solomon actively recruited absentee ballots who would normally vote in New York City to register in Fallsburg. They took several hundred absentee ballots from the Respondent Board (Board of Elections) and returned them by batches of 100 plus ballots. There was never an actual intent of the voter to reside and permanently vote in Fallsburg. "
Ehrlich added that "there were over 340 new registrations for this election..it seems unlikely that the absentee ballots were requested by the voter and in any case the Board of Elections failed to compare the signature to the registration record as required, but compared them to the application. "
Rutner and Rosenberg have long-standing close ties to Sheriff Michael Schiff, an ardent supporter of Rappaport - who appeared in multiple photographs with Rappaport in one of her campaign videos posted to Facebook.
Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty are well known for their political activities on behalf of the local Republican Party and are known as "Team Schiff."