On Monday, a former county elections commissioner in New York pleaded guilty to applying for absentee ballots in the names of other registered voters.
JD Supra reported that Jason Schofield, age 43, of Troy, New York, pled guilty to unlawfully using the names and dates of birth of voters in order to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots for elections in Rensselaer County in 2021.
United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, special agent in charge of the Albany Field Office of the FBI made the announcement. Schofield was an Elections Commissioner at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections until late last month when he resigned ahead of the guilty plea.
Schofield admitted that he unlawfully possessed and used the names and dates of birth of voters in connection with 12 absentee ballot applications, which he submitted electronically in their names to the New York State Voter Absentee Ballot Application Request Portal.
Schofield also admitted that, for each application, he falsely certified that he was the voter requesting the ballot, and he took personal possession of 9 of these ballots while knowing and intending that RCBOE records would falsely reflect that the ballots had been mailed to the voters.
Schofield is set to be sentenced on May 12, 2023, before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino. On each count, Schofield faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to three years. The sentence is imposed by a judge based on several factors, including the statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
Schofield’s plea agreement required that he immediately resign from the RCBOE.
Schofield was arrested by the FBI earlier this year over allegations of an absentee ballot fraud scheme. He was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart and charged with unlawfully using voters’ names and dates of birth to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots.
Schofield, a Republican, was released on his own recognizance until his trial.
“He is accused of unlawfully possessing and using voters’ names and dates of birth in connection with absentee ballot applications that he submitted to a New York State Board of Elections website in 2021. The indictment alleges that Schofield applied for absentee ballots in the names of people who had no interest in voting in 2021 and did not request absentee ballots or Schofield’s assistance in obtaining absentee ballots,” Fox News reported.
“In some of these instances, the indictment explained, Schofield also took possession of the absentee ballots issued to these voters, brought them to voters, and had them sign absentee ballot envelopes without actually voting. This allegedly allowed Schofield or another person to cast votes in these voters’ names in Rensselaer County’s 2021 primary and general elections,” the outlet added.