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November 14, 2013

GOP files complaint against Lentz

The Otsego County Republican Committee has filed a formal complaint with the state Board of Elections against candidate for Otsego County Board of Representative in District 5, Edward Lentz, according to documents provided to The Daily Star by county Republican Party Chairman Vincent Casale. Lentz denied the charges Tuesday.

In unofficial voting, Lentz, a Democrat, was leading Republican candidate Jamie Waters by a total of 751 to 707.

According to state Board of Elections policy, the agency will not comment on whether a complaint was received, an agency spokesman said.

The complaint, dated Nov. 12, said in part that Lentz was observed at a Milford polling site engaging with voters and election inspectors. He did not possess or deliver a required poll-watcher certificate to the inspectors, as outlined in Section 8-500 of the New York State Election Law, according to the document signed by Casale.

Given the close nature of the race, “it is our claim that Mr. Lentz’s actions affected the outcome of the election in his favor,” the complaint stated.

Lentz said he was aware of the accusation but said he was poll-watching and not electioneering at the site. He said he had the proper certification and spoke with election officials when he arrived.

“The charges are unfounded,” he said. “Why they would make an issue out of this is beyond me.”

Casale said the information he received from the county Board of Elections indicates Lentz did not have proper certification. After Casale received several calls following the election saying that Lentz was talking to voters, he decided to take action.

A board of elections spokesman, speaking hypothetically, said if information was received it would be reviewed to see whether there was any violation of election law.

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