New York Governor Kathy Hochul's campaign and the state Democratic Party are accusing Republican opponent Representative Lee Zeldin of submitting 14,000 "fake signatures" to run on the independence party platform. Last week, a chairman of the New York Senate Elections Committee requested that the county's district attorney launch a criminal investigation.
To run in the November election on the independence party line, Zeldin was required to gather 45,000 signatures. His campaign submitted over 50,000 signatures, but only 39,228 were validated.
A New York State Board of Elections spokesperson told Fox News Digital that approximately 13,000 signatures were considered invalid for various reasons, including duplicate signatures, improperly registered voters, or incorrect addresses. However, the spokesperson would not confirm the presence of photocopied signatures or the allegations made against Zeldin.
Hochul's campaign manager, Brian Lenzmeier, mentioned to the New York Daily News that Zeldin voted against certifying Joe Biden in the presidential election. Lenzmeier stated, "After leading efforts to throw out the 2020 presidential election results over baseless conspiracy theories, Lee Zeldin is now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it's real."
New York's libertarian party was the first to request an investigation into the validity of the signatures. Secretary of the libertarian party Andrew Kolstee submitted in a July press release, "This was the Republican Party's attempt to reestablish the Independence Party of New York, which lost ballot access in 2020. The so-called Independence Party has drifted from its original meaning in order to take advantage of New York's fusion voting and misleadingly garner support from unwitting independent voters."
When asked how he knew there were invalid signatures, Kolstee told the Gotham Gazette, "I actually started out by running them through a program looking for duplicate copies and came across several of them." Kolstee explained that once he counted all the invalid signatures, he discovered that "there were over 900 sheets, over 11,000 [signatures]."
Democratic Senator Zellnor Myrie, chairman of the New York Senate Elections Committee, filed a complaint last week to the county's district attorney calling for a criminal investigation into Zeldin's campaign. Myrie alleged that the Republican's campaign submitted 11,000 "fake signatures" to run on the independence party line.
Last month, the state Democratic Party requested that the January 6 committee investigate Zeldin following his state primary victory.
Myrie stated on Friday, "In my role as Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, I have not hesitated to defend our system of elections from spurious allegations of fraud." Myrie continued, "However, when actual election fraud appears to have occurred, as it does in this case, it is essential for the public trust that potential violations are investigated fully and swiftly."
Zeldin and his campaign deny submitting or having knowledge of any photocopied signatures. In a statement to the Gotham Gazette, a spokesperson for the campaign stated, "In the final few days leading up to the filing deadline, tens of thousands of signatures from all over the state had to be immediately turned into the Board of Elections. While the Zeldin for New York campaign is not aware of photocopies, we certainly didn't make any photo copies."