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Former School Board Member Alleges Voter Fraud in Tuckahoe

Susan Riccardi says it may have affected the outcome of the most recent School Board election.

Voter fraud has marred recent elections and budget votes in , according to former Tuckahoe School Board member Susan Riccardi.

Riccardi, who served on the School Board from 2007 to 2010, alleges that three people who cast ballots in Tuckahoe on May 15 also voted in a neighboring district the same day, and eight or nine more people who voted in Tuckahoe do not reside in the district.

She did not have the names on hand Tuesday night, but said she will be providing them to Patch soon.

Though it is only about a dozen voters in question, Riccardi said it is enough to change the results of an election or budget vote. "There were years when those few votes mattered more than anything."

During the 2012 election, then-School Board member Sharon Grindle lost by just eight votes to Harald Steudte. And in 2011, the school budget passed by eight votes.

Riccardi said she believes fraud cost Grindle her seat on the board.

What focused her attention on voting issues was when she was asked to fill in for a pollworker who couldn't make it to the May election, Riccardi said. That's when she said she observed questionable voting.

Riccardi explained that after that election she filed Freedom of Information Law requests for the voter rolls for Southampton, Tuckahoe and Hampton Bays school districts, as well as the lists of who actually voted in May.

She said that she and a friend, who she only identified as Jill, reviewed the lists and found irregularities, such as voters using P.O. boxes for their home addresses and the same names appearing on more than one voter roll.

Because the in May — by 47 votes — there was a second vote on June 19, and Riccardi was a pollworker again. The second time around, Riccardi believes, no one voted who shouldn't have. "We were pretty tight about it," she said.

Riccardi noted that one does not have to be registered to participate in a school vote — residents may present ID on the spot and cast a ballot. But having the Southampton and Hampton Bays voter rolls on hand in June allowed pollworkers to stop anyone from voting in Tuckahoe who was already registered nearby, she said.

Tuckahoe Superintendent Chris Dyer jumped into action when he was informed of her findings after the May election, Riccardi said. "Mr. Dyer is a no nonsense superintendent. He saw immediately that there was a problem."

During the public commenting portion of Monday's Tuckahoe School Board meeting, Riccardi asked Dyer if he received a reply yet from the authorities.

Dyer said he wrote to the state commissioner of education on Aug. 14 but has not yet received a reply. He has also contacted the Suffolk Board of Elections and police.

“We take as seriously as you do any voting irregularities," Dyer told Riccardi at Monday's meeting.

When a district voter asked if he can confirm there was fraud, Dyer said, “I am going to say we have a voting irregularity. Municipal authorities will decide if it is a fraud."

Enuff II September 12, 2012 at 12:52 AM
At least you are simplistic enough to honestly declare what your ilk have been working to convine people of since july
Amy A September 12, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Hazel, you have no idea what you're talking about. There were no voter registration books there that day, and you don't need to be registered to vote in a school board election, only to reside in that district, and only vote in one district. As far as planning things on the beach over the summer, or since July, as Enuff claims, no, this was all handed in within a month of the election, and on the day of the election Sue did notify the school administration immediately about what was going on The sign in sheets from Tuckahoe and surrounding districts were evidence enough for the school administration to take this to the next level. So Enuff, you say there is proof to the contrary, but it's no suprise that you don't state what the proof is. You guys should get your facts straight instead of thinking out loud in a public forum. Enuff said.
Hazel Wilkonson the First September 12, 2012 at 10:13 AM
PTO possee to the rescue! Sell it all you want, Amy A, I ain't buying.
Enuf II September 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Hazel knows and so do lots of other people. In the court of public opinion this effort has been met with a gigantic condescending head shake. Because its sad and a damn shame.
Enuf II September 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Mr. D'Agostino speaks well to the salient issues and someone should seriously look into his suggestions.
Enuf II September 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM
East End, a quick correction Susan's friend did lose. The perps have already changed their names, donned fake mustaches and are now living with sherpas in the rugged back country of Water Mill. You are going to need a Rambo type to capture them.
Mary Beth September 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Excuse me, Amy, but I for one, am sick and tired of all of the usual suspects, yourself included, going out of your way to destroy Tuckahoe. You say you're trying to help? Nonsense. You and your cohorts have a very clear agenda and you have for years now. Stop the spin. Let's see if there is anything to these charges and then let's examine why Sue Riccardi is ALWAYS at the school and served as a poll worker for both votes last year. Completely inappropriate.
Mary Beth September 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM
The PTO needs to stay the hell out of School Board issues.
David D'Agostino September 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Attacks and accusations aside, some very important issues are being discussed here. I don't believe that Sue Riccardi or anyone else did anything to manipulate the election after the fact. If she found irregularities and they are proved to be true, we should be thankful. What I do find disturbingly inappropriate is this: The voter rolls may very well show that people voted in more than one district ( there are a number of residents who pay both Southampton AND Tuckahoe taxes, so I do not know how it is decided in which election they are allowed to cast votes), but they do not show how those people actually voted. So, to make the leap from irregularities to "Riccardi said she believes fraud cost Grindle her seat on the board," seems to be an entirely unfounded accusation that only serves to further alienate parents, board members and residents. On a more positive note, my daughter is thrilled to be back in school and we look forward to another great year with some of the best educators teaching in public schools today!
Amy A September 12, 2012 at 08:45 PM
And you base that statement on what hazel, the one meeting I went to last year and the zero events I attended? Personal attacks based upon lies again are out of line. Nasty, uncivilized people like you who post trash on public forums do much to harm the reputation of our school. It's a wonderful school that I've put two kids through and the changes recently have been amazing. My 8th grader has grown leaps and bounds with the help of some caring teachers. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to what you think my "agenda" is along with some facts to back up your statements, possibly by email or phone in private, instead of this public lashing you seem so fond of.
Hazel Wilkonson the First September 12, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Funny, Amy A, this morning I received notice of a shorter post (see below) that starts off exactly the same, only it was posted by "Auntie", and then seemingly deleted. Apparently you use Auntie to bash and Amy to scold? Next time, be sure you log in with the correct personality. Caught red-handed "Auntie also commented on Former School Board Member Alleges Voter Fraud in Tuckahoe. "To Hazel and Marybeth...I guess the one meeting I went to in the entire school year last year and the zero events I volunteered for qualifies me as part of a "posse". Your ingnorance is astounding. Think to yourself please."
Amy A September 12, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Hi David. I was with Sue when she spoke to the reporters and she was clear that it was a possible that it could have changed the outcome because of the small number of votes she lost by and the size of out district, keying on the fact that elections are won and lost on the smallest margin here and of course the budget vote would have been unaffected.
pat September 12, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I brought this to the attention of the people at the polling place when I voted and also personally brought it to the attention of Bob Grisnick. Something should be done about this now.
Amy A September 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM
No Hazel...Someone else used my device and didnt log out.
Hazel Wilkonson the First September 13, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Yeah, right. And that "other person just happened to use the same opening sentence? Come on, Amy A. You ain't foolin' anyone.
Amy A September 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
OK...I see I have to go a little slower for you Hazel. Someone used my device, didn't log out, therefore when I posted it was as them. Both were written by me, duh. Who are you anyway?
Diane Sadowski September 13, 2012 at 11:44 PM
You nailed it! A formal complaint was filed with the "Election Board" immediately after the second vote towards someone named "Sue" . I wonder if that is the same previous Tuck board member. Who picks someone so emotionally tied to the school vote to be a poll worker? Now the STATE will get that complaint along with specifics tying in possible voter fraud in the second vote that was apparently encouraged by a poll worker. And honestly, the real problem here is bigger than the voter fraud, lets put our efforts toward working on a solution to bring the community together with a responsible budget and good education. Mr. Dyer ... I had more respect for you than to entertain such BS.
Jaguar-Guy September 14, 2012 at 11:33 AM
What - Voter Fraud ?? But Dave Dag, Mary Beth, Hazel, Bob, John Gruber, Hat and about 12 others have ALL UNEQUIVOCALLY STATED that voter fraud does not exist - like the Easter Bunny (as John Gruber wrote). How about showing some form of I.D. people ???!!!!
Jaguar-Guy September 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM
There you go Patch - someone using more than 1 name - good catch Hazel.
Jaguar-Guy September 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Voter Fraud - what ??? But there hasn't been a documented case of voter fraud in 50 years Dave, right ??? That's what you wrote 2-3 days ago - AMAZING. You and John Gruber.
David D'Agostino September 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Jag, once again, you are completely off-base. You will take any single issue and use it to make some ludicrous, larger point about your far-right ideology. If you bother to read the article and the comments, (or if you'e ever actually voted in a school election) you would not that, unlike in state and national elections where you have to be registered and your name is checked against voter logs, requirements for local school elections are entirely different. To vote in your school district you do NOT have to be a registered voter and there is no registration log against which to check your name. When blind ideology trumps the facts, it is the ideologue who ends up looking ridiculous.
David D'Agostino September 14, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Hey Amy. I was going on what the article stated and that was this: "Riccardi said she believes fraud cost Grindle her seat on the board." That sounds fairly unequivocal to me, but it may be that her statement was misrepresented by Patch.
John C September 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM
You know what is needed to be done in Tuckahoe. Merge with Southampton school district and get rid of all the Fat in the tuckahoe school the taxpayers will save 4% of their taxes every year.
Steve Haslett September 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM
The problem with your premise is that you cannot prove that 4%. Your tone and approach is aggressive and annoying to boot. Nobody in Tuckahoe would fight a merger. Problem is that it takes work and effort at a state level so you can be assured it will never happen. Besides a money savings for Tuckahoe residents you would have to find positives for Southampton. You've never heard of a marriage where one of the spouses refused to say ''I do'' have you?
John C September 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Yes Steve the truth hurts don't it the plus for southampton would be that the monies that tuckahoe now pays for a super and board can go towards more programs and the rate in southampton is right now 3% they would collect the additional monies from the residents of tuckahoe plus the tuckahoe residents save some taxes. We can also get rid of the bullshit board in tuckahoe which the super and board is just out for what they can get and put in their pockets. so stuff that in your pipe and stop being annoying yourself with the save the teachers routine it is about time some taxpayers get saved.
Steve Haslett September 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Let me try this again, try to read it and then respond rather than respond as if I am fighting with you. You want to make another attempt?: "The problem with your premise is that you cannot prove that 4%. Your tone and approach is aggressive and annoying to boot. Nobody in Tuckahoe would fight a merger. Problem is that it takes work and effort at a state level so you can be assured it will never happen. Besides a money savings for Tuckahoe residents you would have to find positives for Southampton. You've never heard of a marriage where one of the spouses refused to say ''I do'' have you?"
Ross MacKae September 15, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Wow! Can't everyone just get along???? There is so much personal anger in the commentaries. It amazes me that a few of the commentators are making personal attacks and name calling on other commentators. What a shame. I thought the purpose of these comments was to keep the discussion on the content of the article above ... I pray for those of you filled with so much personal anger that you feel compelled to attack others who are merely expressing their opinions. I personally disagree with some of what is said above, I agree with some, and I am enlightened by others. So I thank you. to be continued ...
Ross MacKae September 15, 2012 at 04:57 PM
My input is first a few questions. I am ignorant as to the actual procedures used in the local school board election. I reside in East Hampton. Is your school vote conducted by the Suffolk County Board of Elections or is it locally administered? If it is run by the Board of Elections, how could the vote be certified with voters who's identities had not been validated. The Board of Elections is far from perfect, but they tend to err on the side of caution. I just got through spending 16.5 hours at the Democratic Primary this week. I am an ED Chairperson and have worked many years at the polls. I find it very hard to believe that a Board of Elections run vote could have that many people evade the system. Even if someone was registered in one ED and then moved. She might not tell the poll workers that she had moved and still voted in her last ED, but she would be on a provisional ballot in the other ED. When the provisional ballots were validated at the BOE, one of the first things they're going to check is to see if she had signed in and voted on the machine in her registered ED. If the elections are not conducted by the BOE, maybe that might be a solution to the school district's problem. I hope my questions and opinions are received positively, as they are not given with any negative intent.
Billy J September 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM
You lost us when you said that you spent 16.5 hours at the Democratic Primary. We are looking for input from intelligent people. Thank you anyway.
Ross MacKae September 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Billy J; I shouldn't jump ... but I will. 1. If you are an American Citizen, then you know it is not only your right to vote but your responsibility. 2. If you have ever voted before in the state of New York you would have known that the people who work at the polls work there for all parties and are at minimum bi-partisan in composition. 3. Only those Americans who vote really have the right to verbally complain. (The reasoning is that if you waive your right and mandate to vote you equally waive your right to complain.) 4. I never said I was a Democrat. 5. You said "us" in your response. Other than yourself, for whom are you speaking? and 6. You are obviously one of the haters I referenced above who insist on a public conversation becoming a personal attack.

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