Carrie Solages and community leaders from Nassau's 3rd Legislative District...

Carrie Solages and community leaders from Nassau's 3rd Legislative District stand up against voter intimidation on the streets in a news conference in Elmont. (Oct. 26, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Democratic candidate in Nassau's 3rd Legislative District is organizing a community-based task force to combat what he claims are frequent acts of voter intimidation.

Carrie Solages said local residents, including attorneys, will serve as poll monitors on Election Day to watch for illegal behavior. A civil rights attorney also has asked for federal monitoring of the election.

The monitoring effort stems from an incident this month in which a campaign volunteer for Republican incumbent John Ciotti was videotaped making racial remarks in a confrontation with Solages' sister outside the candidate's office in Elmont. Ciotti barred the volunteer, who is white, from his campaign and condemned his actions.

"This community has a long-standing tradition of voter intimidation," Solages, an attorney, said Wednesday at a news conference in Elmont, flanked by community leaders and lawmakers from Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn, including State Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn).

Candidates are allowed two poll watchers per individual election district who may question activities and report incidents to the Nassau Board of Elections or police, according to Democratic Elections Commissioner William Biamonte.

Ciotti said he welcomed the scrutiny. "I support anything to make it possible for every voter in the district to have their votes counted," he said.

Solages, the son of Haitian immigrants, said residents have complained to him numerous times about what they described as intimidation. For instance, he said that voters, often new immigrants, have been asked illegally to produce tax bills to prove their eligibility to vote.

Biamonte said about 80 percent of complaints of voter intimidation in recent years have come from the 3rd District.

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