By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
PROSPECT — A Town Council member wants state Sen. Rob Sampson to reimburse the town $3,673 for the cost of a State Election Enforcement Commission investigation after the commission found no wrongdoing.
Sampson, a Republican from Wolcott, said he doesn’t plan to reimburse the town. “That’s ridiculous,” he said of the request from Town Council member Kathryn Zandri.
If anything, the Prospect Registrars of Voters Republican Marianne Byrne and Democrat Kate Blinstrubas should be responsible for the reimbursement since they couldn’t provide an adequate answer and that they should also explain why there are legal fees, Sampson said.
“I asked for the facts over and over,” Sampson said. “There shouldn’t be a single lawyer contacted for this.”
Zandri said when someone carelessly makes allegations without a thorough investigation, it ends up costing taxpayers their hard earned money.
“It could’ve given anyone there the impression that Prospect voting system or method is subpar when we have individuals who are professional and thorough and conscious, who don’t deserve to be put through this scrutiny,” Zandri said.
Sampson said everything the registrar of voters did on Election Day was correct but no one from the Prospect registrars of voters was telling him what happened when he tried to repeatedly inquire about it.
“All I was trying to do was make sure she was not disfranchised,” Sampson said.
Sampson filed a complaint last year with the commission that alleged a Prospect resident and elector was unlawfully turned away at a polling place during the General Election in Nov. 2020 due to someone voting in her name, possibly by absentee ballot. The voter was able to vote later that night.
The SEEC, made of five bipartisan citizen members, found no violation.
During a state General Administration and Elections committee hearing, Sampson said he brought up the ordeal of the voter being turned away to raise the issue but never made allegations or efforts to malign any of Propsect’s voting officials.
“The thing is, it’s a misunderstanding,” Sampson said. “What happened with this voter was a misunderstanding.”
Sampson said the Prospect registrars of voters should’ve responded adequately so an investigation wasn’t necessary.
“If this is public posturing in the light of the voting issues that have come up nationally, then I think someone should be held accountable for making these allegations, especially in light of what’s happening nationally in regards to voting rights,” Zandri said.