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Report: Illegal NY Votes Found

April 25, 2001

NEW SQUARE, N.Y. (AP) _ More than two dozen votes were cast illegally due to improper registration in a Hasidic community that overwhelming voted for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

In an investigation of voting records in the New Square community of Rockland County, the News determined that 26 votes in the November general election were from people whose names should have been removed from voter rolls.

Before the Democratic primary last September, election officials had blacked out many of the people’s names when it was determined that they lived elsewhere.

The village voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, casting 1,400 ballots for the former first lady compared to 12 for her opponent, Rick Lazio.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether President Clinton, on his final day in office, commuted the sentences of four convicted swindlers from New Square, in exchange for votes for his wife.

Before the primary, local officials noticed that 53 voters said they lived at a single address _ the yeshiva at the center of the fraud scandal.

When investigators went to the yeshiva, school officials said that not all of the 53 voters lived there. All but eight were kicked off the rolls, but 26 cast votes in the general election anyway, according to the News.

``It’s a very, very questionable matter,″ said County Elections Commissioner Ann Marie Kelly.

The school, Yeshiva Avir Yakov, was where tens of millions of dollars in federal Pell Grants were funneled by the four men who were pardoned.

Charles Bludman, the school’s director, said he considered the matter closed. ``We’re done. Nobody ever came back to me and said, ‘Bludman, you’re doing things incorrectly.’ Why ask for trouble?″

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