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."