Frederick K. Brewington, the lawyer representing Hempstead School Board candidate Maribel Touré, appealed yesterday to the state education commissioner to remove or invalidate the election of long-time board member Betty Cross. The appeal came amid allegations of voter coercion, election fraud, and abuse of the absentee ballot system.
Brewington offered 25 affidavits from Hempstead residents who said supporters for Cross appeared on their doorstep and tricked them into voting for Cross. Some were not even qualified to fill out an absentee ballot, Brewington said. He also said the ballots were walked to the voting site, which violates election laws.
A state Supreme Court judge ruled last month that the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter, saying the authority rested with Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.
On May 20, Touré was declared one of the winners of two vacant seats on the board. But the next day, Cross showed up with 31 absentee ballots, putting her ahead of Touré. Ricky Cooke, the top vote getter, is not being challenged.
Long Island Wins co-hosted the Hempstead School Board Candidate Forum on May 12, along with Long Island Civic Engagement Table and Noticia as part of the “Growing a Diverse Long Island” series. Six of the seven candidates appeared at the event. Cross was not among them.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has been conducting a separate investigation. Newsday reports that Rice’s office has seized all voting materials and has issued three subpoenas.