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Kearns seeks investigation into alleged voter fraud

Thomas O'Neil-White

A suspected instance of voter registration fraud has prompted Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns to ask the Board of Elections for clarity regarding New York's Green Light law. Kearns alleges a non-citizen submitted a voter registration application while applying for a commercial driver’s license.

Non-citizens are not allowed to vote, regardless of legal status. But Kearns said by using the “front-facing” electronic device, they can accidentally or deliberately register to vote.

“We all know when we go to the auto bureau it’s confusing,” he said. “The thing is, it’s just not one prompt, its many prompts. It’s not one question, one answer. Its several prompts where the person would have to walk themselves through more than five prompts in order to register to vote.”

Kearns said his office is in a precarious position under the state’s Green Light law, which went into effect last week. Under the law, his office is barred from reporting information which may identify a non-citizen.

Kearns is asking the Board of Elections to look into last week’s occurrence and also to provide a policy for his office on what it can and cannot do under the new law.

“The State of New York is saying, turn the other way,” he said. “There is no check in Albany. There is no verification. That’s wrong.”

State law demands a sworn affidavit by the claimant be sent to the board before any investigation can begin. A spokesperson for the Erie County Board of Elections said they have yet to receive an affidavit regarding Kearns’ allegation.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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