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BALLOTS Vote shenanigans are poor showing

It was shady politics for someone in the Republican Party to copy and fraudulently submit 11,000 signatures on a petition to get Republican candidate for Gov. Lee Zeldin on the Independence Party ballot line.

It was equally shady politics for Democrats to send 4.2 million pre-marked absentee ballot applications out to registered Democrats with the excuse of COVID-19 fearfulness already marked.

An investigation into the fraudulent petition is ongoing and the person found responsible should be punished.

But Democrats’ shady action is even more galling.

New York voters in November soundly defeated a referendum that would have amended the state Constitution and allowed for no-excuse absentee ballots. State voters spoke clearly.

On Dec. 31, legislation that allowed a COVID-19 exception to the state Constitution’s requirement that a voter have a valid excuse not to be able to go to the polls expired — meaning voters would have to have a valid reason to get an absentee ballot. As the Omicron variant spiked last January, Democrats’ passed another one-year period of the COVID-19 exclusion to get an absentee ballot.

So, state Democrats’ sending pre-marked absentee ballots should be no-harm, no-foul, right? Not exactly. Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, D-New York City, said on the Assembly floor that those who aren’t actually fearful of catching COVID-19 shouldn’t apply for absentee ballots.

“If they’re not fearful of contracting the illness then they shouldn’t request it. Not everybody’s a liar. If somebody’s not fearful, they’re not going to request it,” Dinowitz said.

What changed from “they shouldn’t request it” in January to sending one to nearly every registered Democrat in New York state? It’s a sign that state Democrats really wanted no-excuse absentee ballots. And if voters wouldn’t give Democrats what they wanted, Democrats would find a little wiggle room in the law to get what they wanted.

Democrats didn’t violate the letter of the law. Sending pre-addressed, pre-marked absentee ballot applications using the state’s COVID-19 fearfulness clause is legal. But in our view Democrats violates the spirit of the message voters sent last November when they declined to amend the state Constitution and allow no-excuse absentee ballots.

The people spoke. Democrats aren’t listening.

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