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REPORT COMING ON DOOR-TO-DOOR CHECK INTO ABSENTEE VOTERS

A final report is being prepared by sheriff's officers who went door to door Tuesday in Cattaraugus County to confirm persons who voted absentee were not at home.

Some Conservative and Independence party voters in Legislative District 6 had filed absentee ballots with the county Board of Elections indicating they could not go to the polls to vote Tuesday.

At the direction of Stanley Zalen, legal counsel for the state Board of Elections, Sheriff Ernest J. Dustman sent investigators to check the qualifications of certain voters for whom absentee ballots were sent in District 6, the towns of Hinsdale, Humphrey, Ischua, Lyndon and Portville.

"There is some evidence of possible irregularities in that district," Zalen said. "Time is of the essence. There is the possibility that some voters will either be deprived of a vote or wrongfully be allowed to vote by absentee at the primary election. Any voter who is in the county and physically able to come to the polls may not vote by absentee unless committed to an institution."

Dustman assigned five investigators to check on the status of those filing absentee ballots, knocking on their doors to determine whether they were at home. Between 150 and 200 voters were checked out.

Dustman would not comment on the investigation but will report the results to the Board of Elections. Election Commissioner Richard Stevenson said any information will be sent to Zalen, who ordered the investigation.

"I talked to Mr. Zalen Wednesday and he had no comment on the matter," Stevenson said. "We haven't seen anything in writing yet from the Sheriff's Department. This all had to do with people who were either in the county on Tuesday or were not. We have until next Tuesday to open and count absentee ballots in these races. So I suspect that by Friday the sheriff may have his report to us.

"We need to solidify who voted and who won these primaries so we need to have the report from them."

Other sources close to the investigation said investigators "uncovered some improprieties."

Last month, state Supreme Court Justice Nelson H. Cosgrove reinstated candidate petitions to allow voters to write-in candidates. County Legislator Larry G. Mack, D-Humphrey, then encouraged people to use the opportunity to ballot method to write-in his name for the Conservative and Independence nominations.

Only the names of Mark S. Williams and Thomas Moser were on the ballot for those two parties.

Preliminary results in primary races in District 6 show Williams, 15; Moser, 8; Mack, 13, and Jan Jadlowski, 10 votes in Conservative voting. The two with the highest number of votes will be nominated.

In Independence Party voting, Williams received 7 votes and Moser, Mack and Mrs. Jadlowski each received 5 votes.

Mack received 2 votes and Mrs. Jadlowski 1 in Right-To-Life Party write-in voting.

Williams and Moser will also be on the Republican Party line and Mack and Mrs. Jadlowski will be on the Democrat Party line.

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