Giving fraud a name

If we are to believe the petition she submitted to run as a candidate, Cheryl A. Holmes gained a seat on the Granby Town Board through fraudulent means.

Mrs. Holmes was elected to the board in 2018 to fill a one-year vacancy. She was re-elected to the position in the Nov. 5 general election.

But the petition she presented in the summer of 2018 contains irregularities that should have invalidated her candidacy. Many officials in Oswego County turned a blind eye to the problem, and so state Attorney General Letitia A. James was compelled to take action.

The petition includes the names of people who do not live in the town of Granby as required by law. Some of the other communities indicated on the document are Cicero, Constantia, Hannibal, city of Oswego and Phoenix.

In addition, the names of some of the signers appear as many as five times on the eight-page petition. Mrs. Holmes needed at least 97 signatures and submitted a document with 129 names. But no more than 41 appear to be valid.

Rose Anthony, a former member of the Town Board, said she didn’t learn that Mrs. Holmes filed her petition until it was too late to challenge it. Mrs. Holmes submitted her petition to the Oswego County Board of Elections on July 12, 2018, and the deadline to file an objection was three days later.

Mrs. Anthony said that after inspecting Mrs. Holmes’s petition, she was rejected by nearly every county official she spoke to about her concerns. Mrs. Holmes’s husband, Leslie, at that time served as chairman of the Granby Republican Committee. It seems no one wanted to throw a wrench in the party’s prospects in the upcoming election.

But Don Hilton was elected sheriff of Oswego County in 2018, and he took an interest in this case. He recommended that Mrs. Anthony bring this up with the state attorney general.

Ms. James’s office investigated the case for more than a year. An Oswego County grand jury handed down a 19-count indictment last month against both Cheryl and Leslie Holmes.

This incident makes a mockery of the democratic system. Someone in the county Board of Elections should have discovered this problem with the names on the petition and looked into the matter. Mrs. Holmes needs to resign from the Town Board immediately.

We commend Mrs. Anthony for her persistence in raising awareness of the illegitimate petition. But the lack of interest on the part of officials in investigating the dubious signatures has the potential of eroding people’s confidence in the instruments of government. We expect better from our public officials, and hopefully authorities in the town of Granby and Oswego County will recommit themselves to looking out for constituents and not just their political party.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(2) comments

Nice_Commenter

Republicans will stop voter fraud right after Hillary is locked up.

MD

The current election law makes fraudulent petitions a common affair. Per the law, the Board of Elections may not audit the signatures. A third party may audit signatures , but only has three days after filing to do so. The thinking behind these laws is petitions are gathered by folks with little or no training regarding election law and will make mistakes, honest mistakes, and if you make it too difficult to run, no one will run for public office, . This puts offices that have a great deal of responsibility, and basically no pay, at risk of not being filled. A recent audit of petitions in New York, by a non-profit, revealed all petitions suffered from irregularities of one sort or another.

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