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FBI Arrests New York Election Official Over Alleged Absentee Ballot Fraud Scheme

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The FBI arrested a New York election commissioner over allegations of an absentee ballot fraud scheme.

Jason Schofield was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart on Tuesday on an indictment charging him with unlawfully using the names and dates of birth of voters to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots for elections held in Rensselaer County in 2021.

Schofield, a Republican, was released on his own recognizance until his trial scheduled before U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.

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“He is accused of unlawfully possessing and using the names and dates of birth of voters in connection with absentee ballot applications that he submitted to a New York State Board of Elections website in 2021. The indictment alleges that Schofield applied for absentee ballots in the names of people who had no interest in voting in 2021 and did not request absentee ballots or Schofield’s assistance in voting or obtaining absentee ballots,” Fox News reported.

“In some of these instances, the indictment explained, Schofield also took possession of the absentee ballots issued to these voters, brought them to voters, and had them sign absentee ballot envelopes without actually voting. This allegedly allowed Schofield or another person to cast votes in these voters’ names in Rensselaer County’s 2021 primary and general elections,” the outlet added.

“If convicted, Schofield would face up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years on each of the 12 counts,” the report continued.

This comes as November’s crucial midterm elections are inching closer.

The New York Times appeared to temper Democrat expectations for the midterm elections in a Monday analysis.

In its newsletter, “The Morning,” The Times suggested that recent polling indicating Democrats are making gains with voters may be wrong again, based on an analysis of final polling in 2020 that overstated President Joe Biden’s strength in a number of places including states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio, where key Senate races will be decided.

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Times’ senior writer David Leonhardt noted:

The polls reported that Biden had a small lead in North Carolina, but he lost the state to Donald Trump. The polls also showed Biden running comfortably ahead in Wisconsin, yet he won it by less than a percentage point. In Ohio, the polls pointed to a tight race; instead, Trump won it easily.

In each of these states — and some others — pollsters failed to reach a representative sample of voters. One factor seems to be that Republican voters are more skeptical of mainstream institutions and are less willing to respond to a survey. If that’s true, polls will often understate Republican support, until pollsters figure out how to fix the problem.

This possibility offers reason to wonder whether Democrats are really doing as well in the midterm elections as the conventional wisdom holds. Recent polls suggest that Democrats are favored to keep control of the Senate narrowly, while losing control of the House, also narrowly.

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“One factor seems to be that Republican voters are more skeptical of mainstream institutions and are less willing to respond to a survey,” he added Monday. “If that’s true, polls will often understate Republican support, until pollsters figure out how to fix the problem.”

Nate Cohn, the paper’s chief political analyst, added: “Just about every election cycle, there’s an argument for why, this time, things might be different — different from the expectations set by historical trends and key factors like the state of the economy or the president’s approval rating.

RealClearPolitics estimates that Republicans, so far, are set to pick up two seats while winning back control of the House — though on the “generic ballot,” Democrats seem to hold a slight 0.4 percent advantage, which is well within polling margins of error.

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President Joe Biden, according to RCP’s average of polls, has a 42 percent approval rating compared to a 52.8 percent unfavorable rating. Vice President Kamala Harris’ favorable is worse – 36.3 percent to 51.2 percent unfavorable.

Former President Donald Trump, according to the RCP averages, is at 40.7 percent favorable versus 54.0 percent unfavorable. And while he is not on the ballot, several candidates he has thrown his support behind are.

Also, a survey released last week found that most Americans want Biden impeached.

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