Paladino seeks information on primary votes in apparent bid to contest defeat | Latest titles

WASHINGTON — Carl P. Paladino’s congressional campaign wasn’t kidding when it said it would look for “irregularities” in the Aug. 23 Republican primary that apparently ended in the GOP chairman’s behind-the-scenes victory. , Nicholas A. Langworthy.

Paladino sent Freedom of Information Act requests last week to several county election commissions in New York’s newly redesigned 23rd congressional district, seeking detailed documentation of votes cast in the primary and much more. .

Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr noted that election officials experiencing issues in some counties have double-checked their numbers and they will not change substantially.

When asked why he was seeking this information, Paladino, in a phone call, said, “This is a matter involving litigation. I have no comment for you.” He then hung up the phone.

None of the three County Board of Elections officials contacted for this story said they had been sued by Paladino. But Paladino’s request for information appears to be a precursor to the kind of election challenge that then-President Donald Trump launched in late 2020 when he first claimed he had won that election. that year.

People also read…

All of Team Trump’s efforts to nullify the election have failed in court, but that hasn’t stopped Paladino from seeking vast amounts of information from county election boards in preparation for his possible election challenge.

Bob McCarthy: How 'southern tier strategy' spawned Langworthy's win

The Langworthy campaign used the “Southern Tier Strategy”, relying on the traditional Southern Tier District’s six counties—not Paladino’s territory in Erie County—to produce a winning formula.

His letter to the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections, which The Buffalo News obtained from a source, requests 22 different sets of documents, including a list of all Republicans who voted in the primary, a breakdown of whether people voted in person or by other means, all records of when election results were released, and “a list of all records maintained by your agency”.

“Records” means any information maintained, held, archived, produced or reproduced by, with or for this agency, in any physical form, including but not limited to reports, statements, reviews, memoranda, opinions, records, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, drawings, designs, maps, photos, letters, microfilm, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes as set forth in Section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act,” Paladino said in the letter.

Paladino’s attorney, James Ostrowski, did not return a phone call or email asking for information on why the developer-turned-politician wanted all this information.

But Ralph M. Mohr, the Erie County Republican Election Commissioner, said the letters followed a call he received from the losing candidate on primary night.

“Paladino called me that night and told me something was wrong,” Mohr said.

With no path to victory, Paladino concedes to Langworthy:

“I am forever grateful to this community. I will always stand up for Western New York,” said Paladino, a developer from Buffalo.

Paladino led the primary by a wide margin early on as returns poured in from suburbs and small towns in eastern and southern Erie County. But his lead faded as Southern Tier counties reported tallies that showed Langworthy winning there, in some counties by more than 2-to-1 margin.

“We are seeing a number of statistical irregularities in a number of counties which we will be reviewing in the coming days,” Paladino spokesman Vish Burra said at the time. “We want every legal vote to count.”

Paladino conceded the next day, however, saying in a statement, “It’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

Now, however, it looks like Paladino’s next chapter will include tons and tons of election materials.

County election officials were appalled by the scope of the documents Paladino sought.

Election night takeaway: Langworthy has harsh words for Paladino, then calls for uniting the party

Langworthy’s more buttoned-up style of an established Republican contrasted Paladino’s penchant for controversial remarks.

“We have quite a few FOIL requests, but nothing like it,” said Allegany County Republican Assistant Commissioner of Elections Marcy Crawford.

When asked what makes Paladino’s request different, Crawford replied, “The amount of stuff he wants.”

For example, Paladino wants to see the type of voting machines used in each county and their error rate. He wants to see the results for every electoral district in both his primary and the congressional special election that sent Republican Joe Sempolinski to Congress to briefly fill the seat held by Rep. Tom Reed, who resigned earlier this year. He wants all the complaints that the electoral commissions have received from voters, poll watchers or other people. He wants “chain of custody” records for paper ballots. And he wants “the opportunity to inspect mail-in ballot applications and envelopes containing mail-in ballots.”

Seeing all of these demands, Mohr spoke with Ostrowski, who narrowed down Paladino’s request to the county’s final numbers in the primary.

It’s still unclear whether Paladino’s requests for records will result in legal action, but Langworthy’s political consultant, Christopher M. Grant, doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the possibility.

Langworthy claims slim win, though Paladino won't concede

After two decades of managing elections for fellow Republicans, Nicholas A. Langworthy scored his own victory early this morning, albeit by the narrowest margin over Carl P. Paladino for the GOP nomination in the 23rd congressional district. .

“Voters in the 23rd District spoke loud and clear on primary night,” Grant said. “We have the utmost confidence in the Board of Elections commissioners for this district, who are of the highest caliber and professionalism. We are focused on November and the end of the reigns of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.”

Many of the requests in Paladino’s letter echo those in previous freedom of information requests the Erie County Board of Elections has received over the past 22 months from people questioning the results. of the last presidential election.

“We’ve been getting them consistently since the 2020 election,” Mohr said. “It’s happening all over the state.”

But piecing together his request based on previous letters from 2020 election deniers, Paladino ended up asking for an enormous amount of information. Asking for a list of all records maintained by a county election board is “absurd,” Mohr said.

When asked why election commissions have been receiving so many requests for information since the 2020 election, Mohr laughed nervously.

And when asked if it might have something to do with the president losing but still maintaining he didn’t, Mohr replied, “It would probably be close.”