Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICK­OFF -

per­fect, but it is abun­dantly clear that gin­ning up para­noia about sys­temic fraud is lit­tle more than still an­other di­ver­sion from enun­ci­at­ing the po­si­tions and ideas can­di­dates have on is­sues vot­ers truly care about,” state Assem­bly­man Kevin Cahill said in a pre­pared state­ment.

“I am con­fi­dent that here in New York state and in the Hud­son Val­ley, un­der the di­rec­tion and su­per­vi­sion of the bi­par­ti­san state Board of Elec­tions and the watch­ful eye of our bi­par­ti­san lo­cal boards and en­gaged ci­ti­zens, the will of those who can cut through the bram­ble of mis­in­for­ma­tion and take the time to vote will be fully ex­pressed in the re­sults,” said Cahill, D-Kingston, who served as an Assem­bly rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the joint Leg­isla­tive Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee re­view­ing the Help Amer­ica Vote Act.

The assem­bly­man said that as a re­sult of the vot­ing act, “old, bro­ken down, prone-to-tam­per­ing lever vot­ing ma­chines were re­placed with so­phis­ti­cated, easy-to-use, ver­i­fi­able pa­per vot­ing sys­tems.”

Cahill is up for re-elec­tion next month in the 103rd Assem­bly District, chal­lenged by Re­pub­li­can Jack Hayes.

Cahill said he sees Trump’s com­plaints as be­ing more about me­dia cover­age

than elec­tion fraud.

But quite contrary to Trump’s sug­ges­tion of a me­dia con­spir­acy against his can­di­dacy, Cahill blamed me­dia cover­age for Trump hav­ing as­cended to the GOP nom­i­na­tion in the first place.

The assem­bly­man then con­trasted what he said was Trump’s free me­dia ride to what he said was un­fair cover­age by the Free­man of his role in an Ul­ster County sales tax con­tro­versy.

Cahill said that, in his case, his sub­se­quent re­elec­tion proved the vot­ing pub­lic is smart enough to “[see[ the truth un­der­neath the neg­a­tive bar­rage” of un­fair cover­age.

Dain Pas­co­cello, cam­paign man­anger for MidHud­son con­gres­sional can­di­date John Faso, said the Faso camp be­lieves the elec­tion will be above board.

“We’re con­fi­dent of an hon­est elec­tion in our district,” Pas­co­cello said. “That said, we’ll mon­i­tor polls on Elec­tion Cay as we nor­mally do to en­sure every­one fol­lows the rules.”

Faso, a Columbia County Re­pub­li­can, is run­ning against Dutchess County Demo­crat Ze­phyr Tea­chout for New York’s 19th Con­gres­sional District seat.

Conor Gil­lis, a spokesman for state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, said his boss also is con­fi­dent the elec­tion will be on the up and up.

“Se­na­tor Bonacic has the

ut­most re­spect for the hard­work­ing men and women of our lo­cal boards of elec­tions and be­lieves that they will over­see a fair elec­tion,” Gills said in an email.

Bonacic is run­ning against Demo­crat Pramilla Mali for the state’s 42nd Se­nate District seat.

Marco Cav­iglia, Dutchess County’s Demo­cratic elec­tions com­mis­sioner, said Trump’s con­tentions about voter fraud are “a lot of hy­per­bole.”

“What ev­i­dence does he have of that?” Cav­iglia said Mon­day. “When some­body says its rigged, you know, [that] is such a gen­eral state­ment [and] you don’t even know what he is re­fer­ring to.”

In a de­tailed ex­pla­na­tion, Cav­iglia went through a litany of pre­cau­tions that elec­tion boards take to pre­vent vot­ing from be­ing rigged, not the least of which is that they are over­seen by bi­par­ti­san lead­er­ship.

“The two ma­jor par­ties are charged with do­ing ev­ery step to­gether,” he said.

Cav­iglia also said a vig­or­ous prepara­tory sys­tem is in place in which vot­ers are checked to de­ter­mine if they are el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate.

And, he said, there are “mul­ti­ple in­ter­nal steps on Elec­tion Day that ac­count for ev­ery sin­gle vote, ab­sen­tee bal­lot — ev­ery­thing, even void bal­lots and even scat­tered bal­lots. We ac­count for ev­ery sin­gle thing right down to the pens that are sent to the polls.”

Cav­iglia said elec­tion in­spec­tors are sta­tioned at ev­ery polling place to an­swer vot­ers’ ques­tions and that a chain-of-command pro­ce­dure is strictly fol­lowed. He also noted that any­one who at­tempts voter fraud is sub­ject to prose­cu­tion.

Cav­iglia, who has served as an elec­tions com­mis­sioner for three years, said there have been no such prose­cu­tions dur­ing his ten­ure.

Cav­iglia said the current method of vot­ing is bet­ter than on­line vot­ing be­cause com­puter sys­tems can be hacked.

He de­scribed the current sys­tem as “un­hack­able.”

Cav­iglia said the Board of Elec­tions guards bal­lots long af­ter Elec­tion Day.

“We save ev­ery bal­lot, the ac­tual bal­lot,” he said. “Each ma­chine is equipped with ... a sys­tem that au­to­mat­i­cally tab­u­lates how many peo­ple voted, how many peo­ple sub­mit­ted a bal­lot.”

Thomas Turco, the Re­pub­li­can elec­tions com­mis­sioner in Ul­ster County, said of Trump’s claim of a rigged elec­tion: “We have no rea­son to re­spond as we do not have rigged elec­tions.”

Turco said there are “too many fail-safes to men­tion ... to be con­fi­dent the se­cu­rity of the vot­ing is guar­an­teed.”

He said, though, that ex­plain­ing the Board of Elec­tions’ step-by-step process :would take way too long,” and he re­ferred a reporter to state Elec­tion Law.

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