AG orders NY Citizens Audit to cease ‘voter intimidation’

AG orders NY Citizens Audit to cease ‘voter intimidation’
New York Citizens Audit has claimed no connection to efforts of voter intimidation through canvassing, alleged by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

The New York attorney general has warned NY Citizens Audit to cease any “voter deception and intimidation” amid allegations the Newburgh-based group has gone door-to-door, falsely claiming to be election workers and wrongly accusing voters of felony election fraud.

Attorney General Letitia James’s office issued an immediate cease-and-desist letter to the organization and instructed the group to provide information about any third parties working with them as well as details about the training of their representatives by Oct. 2.

The letter was sent by Lindsay McKenzie, chief of the Voting Rights Section at the state AG office.

McKenzie said that if these allegations were proven true, they would constitute unlawful voter deception. She also said her office would use every available tool at its disposal to protect New York voters against fraud.

Marly Hornik, NYCA executive director, said in a statement Monday that the non-profit  first learned of the order through a press inquiry. She claimed the press had been notified before the group and that the allegations in the order were “unsubstantiated,” “strange” and “puzzling.”

A call to the AG’s office about the NYCA statement went unanswered.

“The whole thing has developed from a purposeful Board of Elections attempt to create public hysteria about unidentified canvassers,” Hornik said in the release, “Then the board started naming NYCA as “public law breaker No. 1, then the press beat the drum with nothing but unsupported allegations, and next thing we know the NY attorney general is involved and naming NYCA.”

She added, “It all sounds like a Soviet-era propaganda move to discredit and then attack NYCA, calculated to stop the news of serious anomalies in the NY voter rolls discovered during our review of official data.”

The attorney general’s order has underscored the ongoing concerns about voter deception and intimidation in New York State and beyond. On Sept. 1, the state Board of Elections issued a statewide warning about reports of individuals impersonating election officials in various counties, including Suffolk.

The canvass imposters are accused of approaching voters and saying they have carried out illegal activities because of discrepancies found in their voter registrations. Similar incidents were reported in at least six other states.

NYCA claims it has been unable to meet with the state Board of Elections over the last two years over the legality of election conduct in 2020 and 2022. The group said it has offered to give the extracts from board data concerning what it views as a massive number of irregularities in recent elections.

The group contended it has submitted a formal complaint asking the state board to investigate each of the “millions of suspected illegal registrations, the apparent existence of an algorithm injecting synthetic voters into the voter rolls, the large discrepancy between the number of voters counted and the number of voters who voted and the voters with apparently non-compliant registrations who were permitted to vote.”

McKenzie said her office had found no evidence to support the claims made by these impersonators. She said that the reaction from affected voters ranged from outrage to fear that their voting activities might have violated the law.

NYCA describes its mission as dedicated to ensuring honest and verifiable elections in New York and across the nation. It actively seek donations on its website to support their efforts.

The organization holds non-profit status, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service in 2022, allowing it to receive tax-deductible donations and exempting the group from federal income taxes. Their IRS report for 2022 indicates it received less than $50,000 in gross receipts.

Hornik, NYCA’s executive director, was said to be an election denier in a November 2022 news article by New York Now, a PBS public affairs show, in which she falsely claims that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

Hornik’s involvement in election-related activities gained more attention in August when she was a speaker at a gathering of election deniers in Springfield, MO. The event was hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, who faces a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems for his false claims that its machines rigged the 2020 election.

The group is still seeking volunteers on its social media accounts such as X, formerly Twitter, and says the goal is to contribute to accurate elections.

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