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Maffei's campaign calling voters in 25th

  • Updated

Phone calls from Dan Maffei's campaign got the attention of Ann Marie Buerkle Monday as the candidates await recanvassing and counting of absentee ballots in the 25th Congressional District race.

In a statement Monday, Buerkle said there were attempts being made in the district to contact those who cast absentee ballots and ask how they voted in the election. Buerkle called the attempts to contact voters "regrettable."

"While the reasons for this effort are unclear, many agree it could be an attempt by some to identify who each person voted for in an effort to disqualify certain eligible ballots from being counted," Buerkle said. "I would like the public to know that my campaign is not connected to this current effort. Further, no American -- in upstate New York or anywhere -- is in anyway under obligation to provide information to anyone on how he or she voted in any election, including my own."

Buerkle's statement did not name Maffei's campaign as the party responsible for the calls, but a spokeswoman for the Maffei campaign confirmed they are calling voters in the district.

Maffei campaign communications director Abigail Gardner said Monday that while she believes they are asking how people voted, the reason for the calls is to ensure all votes are counted.

"It's totally legal and there's nothing really shady about it," Gardner said. "I think we are asking how people voted, but the most important thing is to make sure that, if somebody cast a vote, that it's going to be counted. There have been some problems."

According to Gardner, the problems found thus far include people voting from outside the district in Cayuga County and reports of absentee ballots cast by deceased people.

"We're just trying to use due diligence and make sure that every eligible vote is counted and if people tell us about inconsistencies and problems we are going to follow up on it," she said.

In her statement, Buerkle calls on voters who are contacted to ask who is calling and not feel that they must reveal how they voted.

"If anyone is contacted in this effort please know that your vote is privileged and under no circumstances should an individual be pressured into revealing how their vote was cast," she said. "If you are contacted, ask them to provide their full name, for whom they work, why they are seeking this information and if you are required to provide this information."

The preliminary vote total shows Buerkle with 99,583 votes to Maffei's 98,899 -- a 684 vote differential. According to numbers compiled from the four county board of elections in the district, 11,645 absentee ballots were sent out and, as of last week, 8,344 ballots were returned.

Recanvassing is scheduled to begin this week and counting of absentee ballots is slated for next week.



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