Elections are in the balance in the resort town of Catskills

A tiny Catskills resort town at the center of an investigation into federal voter fraud will have to wait to hear the results of its elections on Tuesday.

The village of Fleischmanns – which on Tuesday had a vote for mayor as well as two seats on its board of trustees – has not confirmed the election pending a court decision on whether contested mail-in ballots should be included.

And that despite an apparent record turnout on Tuesday.

Located at the foot of the Belleayre ski resort, the village is a popular summer destination for the Hasidic community, a religious sect that some Fleischmann residents believe is trying to undermine the electoral process.

In a village totaling 210 residents, about 111 votes were counted, including 78 residents who appeared in person at the local library, along with 33 uncontested absentee ballots, according to Todd Pascarella, a candidate for trustee.

“One guy came right off his farm, given the amount of dust and debris he still had on him, and we also saw a lot of people that we don’t normally see at the polls,” said Christine Panas, who runs a local coffee shop in Fleischmanns and was an election observer on Monday.

“The residents were very interested in this election.”

They are 81 ballots submitted by mail-in voters whose residency is being contested. Those ballots were not opened pending a court decision on what to do with them.

A sign at the entrance to Fleischmanns.
The Fleischmanns is at the foot of the Belleayre ski area.

New York Supreme Court Justice Brian Burns indicated at a hearing Thursday that he tends to wait until a local sheriff’s office completes its investigation into 112 disputed voter registrations.

Fleischmann’s residents are now cheered.

“It was a record or near-record turnout for a village where past elections were decided by fewer than 20 voters,” Pascarella told The Post.

It’s the third year that residents have claimed that Fleischmann’s trustee and mayoral elections were fraudulently won by a group of people who vacation in Fleischmann’s — but live full-time in Brooklyn and New Jersey — and submitted mail-in ballots, in which motels and seasonal vacation rentals are listed as their upstate residences.

A gazebo in front of a historic Fleischmanns sign.
Fleischmann’s residents claim that there were three elections in which there was voter fraud.

The suspected carpet diggers were hired by two Fleischmanns real estate moguls – Wigdor Mendlovic and Josef Horowitz – who are said to want to control the local government to push through favorable development plans, residents say.

The Justice Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating the matter, The Post exclusively reported.

Pascarella and two other candidates — Elizabeth Hughes, who is running for mayor, and Yvonne Reuter, who is running for trustee — challenged around 112 voters this month. They are suing their political opponents and the Delaware County Board of Elections to suspend confirmation of the election pending the outcome of the Delaware County Sheriff’s investigation into whether those voters are actually Fleischmanns residents.

A sign for the Delaware Court Motel.
A number of absent voters signed voter registration cards showing they were staying at the Delaware Court Motel.

Hughes, Pascarella and Reuter won the election without the contested ballots.

Hughes received 69 votes to her opponent Sam Gil’s 42, while current trustee Stewart Cohen, who is running for re-election, received just 35 votes to Reuters’ 72 and Pascarella’s 69. Another nominee for trustee – who is a defendant in the lawsuit – Miguel Martinez -Riddle received 40 votes, according to Daniel Belzil, representing the plaintiffs.

“It was a landslide,” Belzil said at the hearing. “Our candidates won by a two-to-one margin.”

Elizabeth Hughes.
Elizabeth Hughes is running for mayor of Fleischmanns.

Judge Burns granted the candidates temporary stays Thursday. “We have to get this right from the start,” Burns said at the hearing, apparently referring to the conclusion of the sheriff’s investigation. However, he has not yet decided on the length of stay.

Last year, about 63 people were removed from the Fleischmanns voter rolls after the sheriff determined they did not reside at the Fleischmanns and had no right to vote in local elections there. But it was too late to change the outcome of the election, which had already been confirmed by the village.

Just Stewart Cohen was represented at the hearing by attorney James Curran, who argued that the absent voters had “dual residency,” which is “common at Fleischmanns.”

“It could be a few more weeks … or it could be a year” if the election is suspended, Curran said. “We’d like to see those absentee ballots opened.”

https://nypost.com/2023/03/23/catskills-resort-towns-election-thrown-into-limbo/ Elections are in the balance in the resort town of Catskills


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing dustinjones@ustimetoday.com.

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