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Sources: Voter fraud against Nassau judicial candidate under investigation

Judge Helen Voutsinas discovered after arriving on Nov.

Judge Helen Voutsinas discovered after arriving on Nov. 4 to vote at a Freeport polling place that someone already had signed her name and cast a ballot after claiming to be her, according to sources and records. Photo Credit: James Escher

A Nassau County District Court judge still in the running for a Family Court judgeship found someone had impersonated her at the polls on Election Day, and sources said Friday that a criminal probe is underway.

Judge Helen Voutsinas discovered after arriving on Nov. 4 to vote at a Freeport polling place that someone already had signed her name and cast a ballot after claiming to be her, according to sources and records.

"Witnesses swore that the person claimed to be me. The signature . . . is not mine," Voutsinas said in a Nov. 4 petition seeking a court order to be allowed to vote.

In a notarized letter, an election inspector says a woman came to the voting site that morning and committed the fraud.

"The impersonator knew Ms. Voutsinas' address and signed with a somewhat similar signature," the letter states.

Later that day, state Supreme Court Justice F. Dana Winslow reviewed the evidence and issued an order allowing Voutsinas to vote, records show.

Nassau Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner William Biamonte said Friday he was told that a complaint has been filed with the district attorney's office.

The office of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice declined to comment.

Elections officials say they're troubled and puzzled by the incident.

"I've never seen a case like this before," Biamonte said.

Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said Friday that the incident "seems odd" but appears isolated.

"I don't believe this is part of any conspiracy by the other party to conduct voter fraud on a widespread level," he said.

Voutsinas, a 40-year-old Democrat, was elected to the District Court bench in November 2010. She previously served as an attorney for the Town of North Hempstead and the Nassau County Legislature.

"The judge respectfully declines to comment because of an ongoing investigation," courts spokesman Daniel Bagnuola said yesterday on her behalf.

Steven Schlesinger, an attorney for the Nassau Democratic Party, said he was told police have retrieved surveillance video from the polling place. Other sources with knowledge of the case also said the video was part of the investigation.

Schlesinger said Voutsinas had to petition for the right to vote when she could have done last-minute campaigning in the still-undecided race.

Absentee ballots must be counted before the outcome of the race for two Family Court judgeships can be certified. As of close of business Thursday, Republican candidates Danielle M. Peterson and Thomas Rademaker were the leading vote-getters, Democratic election officials said.

Rademaker was leading Voutsinas by 1,533 votes with more than 11,500 ballots still to be counted, the officials said.

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