After serving our country around the world, in nations that struggle with democracy, I have learned to cherish our rights and freedoms we have as citizens in the United States. One of those rights is our right to vote and to vote for a candidate without intimidation and coercion. It has come to my attention that my opponent is using the availability of absentee ballots to pressure our neighbors to vote for him in the June 25 primary by taking custody of dozens of their ballots from the Albany County Board of Elections.
This scheme in our own backyard bears a striking resemblance to illegal ballot harvesting operation that tainted and invalidated the most recent election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. When a political campaign controls a ballot, we cannot know whether the ballot was filled-in in advance, whether the candidate supervised the voter as she voted, or whether her ballot was thrown away all together. This inherent conflict of interest is why a 2007 federal court order specifically prohibited the Albany County Board of Elections from issuing more than eight absentee ballots to any one person, and why the BOE put that same rule into their 2009 Operations Manual.
I am writing to ask voters in Colonie not to succumb to such under-handed tactics. Your ballot is your last defense against pushy politicians. That is why it is so important for you to protect it. Unless they are a trusted individual with whom you have a preexisting relationship, you should never let any campaign worker put their hands on your ballot. If you require an absentee ballot, request one directly from the Board of Elections and return it by mail.
I know some voters have been confused by the flurry of recent changes in election rules, but the current law is this: if someone is going to be present and available on election day, they do not meet the requirements for an absentee ballot and should vote in-person. If someone comes to your door and pressures you into signing an absentee ballot request form, or making a statement that is not true, stand up for your independence and tell them “no.” If you want to know your in-person polling location, you can look it up here: www.NathanBruschi.com/district.
I am asking for your vote on Primary Day, Tuesday June 25 because I will be an independent voice committed to the integrity of our voting process. If elected as your county legislator, I would work to strengthen voter protections and prevent candidates from standing between you and the ballot box.
Nathan L. Bruschi
Candidate for Albany County Legislator