Trustee Candidate Questions Absentee Ballot Application Procedure

Bill Swiskey said he could potentially file a complaint with the New York State Board of Elections.

At least one candidate running for the Greenport Village Board in the March 19 election has questions about absentee ballot applications.

Former board member Bill Swiskey, who has thrown his hat into the ring for another run, said at this week's village board work session that he had been asked by several citizens about where they should go to obtain an absentee ballot application.

Swiskey said he referred them to the Greenport village website and found that the application there had a return address to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

"After hearing from a reliable source the Village Clerk was delivering applications and collecting them personally, I found this in direct contradiction to what's shown on the village's website," Swiskey wrote in an email.

Greenport Village Clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo said Swiskey's allegation that she was delivering the applications personallly was false. "It's not true," she said.

Swiskey also said the instructions for absentee ballots on the village website are "totally erroneous and should be fixed immediately."

He added that an inquiry had been made to find out "how such a such a grievous error, that could effect a person's ability to vote, was made," and said without a "reasonable" explanation, he would be forced to file a complaint with the New York State Board of Elections.

Pirillo said on Thursday that the discussion centers on absentee ballot applications, and there had been "some confusion" about that fact.

The application on the Greenport Village website, Pirillo said, was from the Suffolk County Board of Elections; the application states that it should be returned to the county BOE, on the second page of the application.

But, she said, "The Suffolk Couny Board of Elections does not run village elections."

In the elections that she has run, Pirillo said all absentee ballot applications have always come back to Greenport village. "It has never been an issue," she said. "It has never happened, to my knowledge, that the applications were sent to the county."

But, in order to "alleviate confusion," the second page of the application, with the Suffolk County BOE address, has been removed from the Greenport Village website. "We hope that this eradicates any issue that may come up," she said.

The issue of absentee ballot applications, Greenport Village Mayor added, "Have run the same way in every election."


William Swiskey sr March 01, 2013 at 01:02 AM
The problem here is that this was the same form used in two previous village elections. Why did the clerk have to learn from a citizen at a village meeting there was a serious issue with the ballot. Were ballots lost in those previous elections, one was decided by 6 votes. She has the responsiblity as chief election offical for the village, yet it took her 6 years to realize this and only after being confronted at an open meeting. Plus if the public was allowed to speak at work session, it could have been fixed a week earlier. Also Mrs. Pirillo states that she doesn't deliver ballots, well that's in direct contradiction to a letter recieved from the clerk stating the opinion according to village counsel the village procedure of delivering to the nursing home is proper. Sounds like someone from the village was doing the ballot thing at the nursing home also there seem to be witnesses who can identify this person. By state law the person handling absentee ballots for the village is the clerk. It Checking the village website today it had to be the quickest action taken by the village in years making the proper correction. Still unanswered is who in the village was responsible for letting this happen.
Gary M Charters March 01, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Congratulations Lisa Finn for writing this story, I have been so disappointed and confused over either the local medias refusal or inability to print what really goes on in the Village of Greenport. I only hope this continues and include Village Board mettings too.
John March 01, 2013 at 01:54 PM
I copied this from a local blog, it seems to explain the ballot situation perfectly. "The Mayor clearly wants who he wants on the Village Board, the Clerk who serves for her $90,000 a year salary at the pleasure of a vindictive petty get even at all cost Mayor (just ask the former Mayor if you doubt that) is coincidently the chief election officer of the Village…of course she would be impartial about election procedures and outcomes."
William Swiskey sr March 01, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Since the Patchs coverage of the election seems to far out distance the local paper. I'll use this forum to call for a fair and public debate for the candidates. Where the public can ask the questions, not a moderater and urge the other candidates to do like wise.
Joan March 01, 2013 at 05:56 PM
If it smells rotten… it's rotten. Perhaps it's time for a change of politicians in those seats. But then since the Republicans at the Fed level are asking for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act and tried to block the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act….I guess it's ok for local politicians (of any party) to try to skew votes their way in any way that they can. Then when they get caught doing wrong they just claim that it was a mistake. Uh Huh. It also seems that the local voters are ok with this except for a few who are on the ball like Mr. Swiskey, Mr. Charters and "John"


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