An investigation into voting fraud charges against New York’s Niagara County Legislature Clerk Mary¬†Jo Tamburlin has been referred to the Erie County District Attorney’s office.
Tamburlin, who is a notary, is being investigated as to whether she deliberately misdated three voter signatures in order to help a Republican-backed candidate for the 5th District legislative seat.
The changing of dates was critical in getting the opportunity to ballot in the Working Families Party for Republican-backed Giulio G. Colangelo, who is running against the incumbent, Democrat Jason Zona.
Sources confirmed that all three men who signed the allegedly misdated petitions were interviewed by Niagara County Sheriff Department investigators. Also interviewed were Niagara County Election Commissioners Lora A. Allen and Mary Casamento.
Nick Forster, the Niagara County Democratic chairman, spearheaded the call to have a special prosecutor look into the Tamburlin matter because of a potential conflict of interest between Tamburlin, a longtime Republican operative, and the Niagara County District Attorney, Michael Volante, also a Republican.
Coleangelo told the Buffalo News that he helped collect the signatures, but he wasn’t present when Tamburlin notarized the petitions.
According to New York Notary Public Law, if a notary makes an acknowledgment when a person did not personally appear before the notary on the day specified, “the notary’s certificate that he so came is palpably false and fraudulent.”
The law also states that a notary who “shall practice any fraud or deceit, is guilty of a¬†misdemeanor and may be removed from office.”
The board of elections invalidated the petitions Tamburlin filed.
Zzona, the intended victim of the alleged scheme, was the man who discovered the signatures were misdated after making a personal visit to the three men whose signatures are in question.