The grand jury finds numerous cases of voter fraud in the New York council election on Staten Island

A Staten Island grand jury last year identified numerous instances of voter fraud in a city council race — including a ballot submitted on behalf of a dead person and a signature fraud involving dozens of other mail-in ballots.

The unprecedented 38-page grand jury report, released by Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, called for changes to the state election law, including requiring an official government-issued ID to vote. But it does not identify the race involved, nor does it file criminal charges against anyone.

Sources told The Post that the criminal investigation focused on the campaign of Marko Kepi, who narrowly lost a GOP primary to Mid-Island Councilman David Carr.

“This case is the poster child for the need for voter ID laws. Unfortunately, the real victims here are the hundreds of residents whose identities and votes have been stolen. And this will happen again until our state legislature takes election integrity and security seriously,” Carr said.

The Post previously reported allegations of ballot picking and other fraud allegedly committed by the Kepi campaign, including registering a dead person to vote for him – as a woman.

Marko Kepi (pictured) lost a GOP primary to Mid-Island Councilman David Karr.
Facebook/Marko Kepi

“This grand jury finds a mail-in ballot application bears the forged signature
of a deceased person was presented to the Board [of Elections]by naming a campaign employee of CANDIDATE 2, STAFFER 1 as the authorized collector of his mail ballot,” the report said.

“The person who died was a man who passed away in mid-2020. However, in May 2021, the board processed a voter registration form allegedly signed by him with his family tree information, including his date of birth and the last four digits of his social security number, but identifying his gender as female.”

“These documents are fake. The deceased man did not sign any documents either to re-register to vote or to vote by absentee ballot — let alone vote with an edited absentee ballot,” the grand jury report said.

Kepi ​​had no immediate comment.

The investigation found that the fraud did not affect the outcome of the election, with the Electoral Commission rejecting many fraudulent ballots but warning: “We don’t know what we don’t know” and “the ample opportunities for unscrupulous candidates…who abuse systems.” without likely detection or criminal penalties crying out for remedial action.”

A Staten Island grand jury identified numerous counts of voter fraud in a city council race last year.
AP/ Mary Altaffer

The grand jury also reported 200 “mismatched” or suspicious signatures on other mail-in ballots submitted by Kepi campaign staff or volunteers, and received testimonies from “several registered voters who stated that the alleged signatures on mail-in ballots representing their Bearing names, fact, their signatures were absent. Nor had they authorized anyone to sign their name for them.”

A person associated with the Kepi campaign signed more than “two dozen” ballot-by-mail applications and voter registration forms, she noted.

“This originator has repeatedly made himself liable to prosecution by signing – i.e. forging – voter signatures, including second-degree forgery
Violating the Criminal Code…offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree in
Violation of criminal law… and first-degree identity theft,” the report said.

According to the report, the Kepi campaign submitted a batch of more than 1,000 absentee ballots to the Electoral Committee. Many lacked voter signatures and other defects and were summarily rejected.

The grand jury also found “one hundred cases” in which Kepi’s campaign submitted “cure confirmation” forms that indicated fraud, based on a forensic examination of voters’ signatures.

DA Michael E. McMahon
The unprecedented 38-page grand jury report was released by Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
Kevin C Downs for The New York

“This report should alarm everyone involved in the election process on Staten Island and elsewhere
City and State of New York, including general voters,” McMahon said.

Despite ample evidence, the grand jury report claimed it had no evidence to charge a particular campaign worker with fraud.

Voting by mail or absentee ballots has been dramatically expanded during the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly bug at polling stations. Currently, anyone can cite COVID-19 as an excuse under state law to vote by mail rather than in person.

Until now, only voters who were disabled, seriously ill or housebound could apply to vote by post.

“I fully support making voting as convenient as possible and applaud the efforts of
Candidates and their campaigns to inspire voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote must never be sacrificed in the pursuit of these goals, the accuracy, security and public confidence in our elections,” McMahon said.

“Personally, I don’t think the outcome of this particular primary was affected
by the misconduct found by the grand jury. However, the report provides a bezel
to see many possible scenarios where results could be skewed if no action is taken.”

The Grand Jury Report recommends:

  • Requiring voters to present government-issued identification before voting, either physically at a polling station or by postal ballot.
  • Require local election officials to use the services of qualified forensic document review experts to verify absentee ballot envelope signatures for potential fraud.
  • Banning mail-in ballot applications and mail-in ballots themselves from being mailed to an address associated with a candidate’s campaign, a practice known as “vote harvesting” or “ballot-picking,” and barring campaign staffers from handling mail-in ballots or letters and to heal affirmations. The grand jury finds numerous cases of voter fraud in the New York council election on Staten Island


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