The Bronx Chronicle Reports that “Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson arrested former Assembly candidate Hector Ramirez along with another individual, Ana Cuevas. They were arraigned, entered pleas of not guilty, and were released on personal recognizance bonds of $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Ramirez was represented by attorney Angel Cruz and Ms. Cuevas was represented by Larry Sheehan.
The charges are related to the 2014 race in the 86th AD where Ramirez was accused of election fraud involving absentee ballots. Ramirez was narrowly defeated by the incumbent Assemblyman Victor Pichard. Pichardo won 86th Assembly District Democratic primary in a Bronx Board of Elections supervised manual recount by TWO votes over two-time challenger Hector Ramirez.”
The indictment is here:
NYS Board Of Elections CoChair Doug Kellner comments on this development:
(1) The alleged absentee ballot fraud that is the subject of the indictment came to light because the contest was so close that there was extraordinary scrutiny of each absentee ballot application. I have a hard time believing that this type of ballot fraud is unique to New York and is not more common than thought in jurisdictions that have a much higher percentage of vote-by-mail ballots.
(2) Unrelated to the fraud allegations, this contest was significant because it was only the second time in New York history where a manual hand count of all of the ballots changed the outcome of the contest after the machine count had been canvassed. In this 2014 Democratic Primary for Member of Assembly in the 86th Assembly District in Bronx County, there were 4158 ballots cast. After the canvass of absentee, military and affidavit ballots, and the recanvass of the machine results, Hector Ramirez was leading by six votes. The New York City Board conducted a manual count in accordance with § 4-14.1 of its Canvass Procedures, which requires a hand count where the margin is less than 0.5%. Based on the manual count, Victor Pichardo was declared the winner by a final vote of 1888 to 1886.
In both cases, the ES&S DS200 machines functioned properly, but there were ballots with marks outside of the voting target that affected the interpretation of the ballot according to New York’s rules regarding voter intent.