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Arrest reportedly close in Erie County absentee ballot scandal

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The Erie County Sheriff's Department is continuing their investigation of several absentee ballots recently mailed out that reportedly had Republican and incumbent county executive Chris Collins' name already checked. 

While the Sheriff's office is not commenting on the status of their probe, reports are surfacing that they are close to making an arrest .  The prime suspect, according to television station WIVB's website, is a Democratic clerk within the county's Board of Elections.

It's important to note that what the Sheriff's office has told reporters is that neither Collins nor Democratic candidate Mark Poloncarz are linked to the tampered ballots.  That didn't stop a Collins spokesman from blasting Democratic challenger Poloncarz for what he described as a rush to judge the Collins campaign as the perpetrators.  Poloncarz, who accused the Collins campaign of rigging ballots on a Facebook posting, has since backed away from that accusation, supporting the investigation and calling for the guilty person's prosecution and termination from employment.

Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Len Lenihan spoke with WBFO by phone but advised the station he will not comment on this matter until an arrest has been made.  WBFO called the Republican party chair, Nick Langworthy, as well but the call was not returned as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.