Suffolk Republicans are telling absentee ballot voters how to change their votes in hopes that late-breaking news has swung momentum for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
In an email blast, county Republican Party Chairman John Jay LaValle said voters can replace their absentee ballot vote by either showing up at the polling place on Election Day and voting again or contacting the county Board of Elections and requesting a new absentee ballot. If a voter mails in two ballots, the one with the later postmark is counted, according to the Suffolk Board of Elections.
“It’s probably too late for Democrats to put Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders on their party’s ticket. But absentee voters who cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton can still change their minds!” LaValle wrote in the Saturday evening message. It came after news broke of the FBI’s investigation into emails that could be relevant to Hillary Clinton’s private server probe.
Trump has made a similar pitch at rallies.
Progressive groups criticized the message from Republicans, who they say have falsely ginned up fears of voter fraud to cast doubt on an election where Clinton has been favored.
“Chairman LaValle should be ashamed of himself for trying to sow chaos into our election system by encouraging people to vote twice,” said Daniel Altschuler, managing director of Make the Road Action, which lobbies for immigrants’ rights. “LaValle is showing flagrant disregard for the will of Long Island voters and our long-established democratic system.”
LaValle scoffed at the notion and said the system can accommodate changed votes without issue. He said he’s gotten “a number” of calls from people asking to change their votes since the email news broke Friday.
Suffolk residents “feel disenfranchised and want to change their vote,” LaValle said. “They regret being defrauded by her.”
LaValle has been a surrogate for Trump on cable television and was one of Trump’s early endorsers this year, promising that Trump would win Suffolk.
Clinton has called for the FBI to release more information about the emails before Election Day, expressing confidence she will be cleared.