FBI agents arrested the Rensselaer County Republican Elections Commissioner Tuesday at his eastern New York home. This came at the end of a two-year-long county-wide election corruption investigation. Jason Schofield, 42, trained poll workers how to prepare the voting machines for the 2020 presidential election. Yet the FBI led him away in handcuffs, according to WWNY-TV.
His unsealed indictment showed the commissioner has been charged, according to The Times Union:
‘[W]ith 12 felony counts of unlawful possession and use of a means of identification.’
Democratic Deputy Elections Commissioner Mary Sweeney gave testimony before a federal ground jury in Albany. It seems that Schofield used an “online portal to obtain absentee ballots.”
Senior Elections Registrars Corine Sheldon and Kara Seifridsberger had also been subpoenaed as witnesses. Both worked for Schofeld at the Board of Elections. Apparently, the FBI subpoenaed “dozens of county employees.” The agency also subpoenaed Rensselaer County for materials in relation to Schofeld’s absentee ballots:
‘[They included] records related to more than a half-dozen absentee ballot applications, including several that had been obtained through the state’s online portal by Schofield.’
The county’s subpoenas were after “absentee ballot documents and communications involving multiple county officials.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Stewart released Schofeld on his own recognizance. But the investigation went far deeper.
Last June the FBI arrested Councilwoman Kimberly Ashe-McPherson, 61. She served on the city council for seven years. After pleading guilty last summer to a felony in U.S. District Court, Ashe-McPherson admitted she had added fraudulent absentee ballots during the county’s primary and general elections. The councilwoman resigned.
In Ashe-McPherson’s plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court, Schofield was the unidentified board of elections official listed as “Individual-3:”
‘According to the document, Schofield had allegedly facilitated helping Ashe-McPherson obtain an absentee ballot through an online portal using the name and date of birth of a voter without “lawful authority.”‘
During the primary, Ashe-McPherson had the ballot sent to her home and voted for the Working Families Party. The councilwoman was elected in 2015 but lost when she ran for the Rensselaer County Legislature.
Last February, the FBI seized the phones of two county employees:
‘They were served on the county days after FBI agents seized the mobile phones of county Operations Director Richard W. Crist and Jim Gordon, the county’s director of purchasing. Both men are political allies of county Executive Steve McLaughlin.’
McLaughlin was also charged by the state attorney general’s office with alleged theft and misuse of campaign funds in an unrelated case. He pled guilty to two felony charges
The county’s GOP leaders said they had not known of any illegal activity in the 2021 election. They claimed that they simply were using absentee ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Separately from the FBI’s investigation, the New York State Police also investigated ballot fraud in the November Rensselaer’s race for mayor.
In Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters. Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletters are for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella.