Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Garden City man who worked as an election inspector during a September 2017 primary has been arrested for official misconduct and electioneering.
Jonathan Maldonado, 36, was arraigned today before District Court Judge Eileen Goggin and charged with ‘official misconduct’ (an A misdemeanor) and two counts of ‘misdemeanors at, or in connection with, primary elections, caucuses, enrollment in political parties, committees, and convention’ (an unclassified misdemeanor). The defendant was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on April 27. If convicted of the top count he faces up to one year in jail.
“This defendant allegedly abused his access as a County employee and paid elections inspector to distribute altered sample ballots at a poll workers’ table in an illegal effort to help his boss’ campaign,” DA Singas said. “Our investigation of this matter uncovered troubling deficiencies in controls and oversight at the Board of Elections that allowed this conduct to occur, and I hope this prosecution will send a strong message that we have no tolerance for any effort to deprive the people of Nassau County of their right to free and fair elections.”
DA Singas said that on Sept. 12, 2017, a Republican primary election took place between James Coll and John Ferretti for Nassau County’s 15th Legislative District, following Coll’s reinstatement to the ballot after a nominating petition challenge by Ferretti was reversed by the Appellate Division the day before.
Jonathan Maldonado, an employee of the Nassau County Clerk, also worked for the Board of Elections as Chairperson of the Board of Inspectors for the East Broadway Elementary School polling place in Seaford. As a duly appointed chairperson, his responsibilities included accounting for and distributing all election district materials, ensuring the completion of required forms, making inspector duty assignments, making sure payroll was signed, and returning supplies to the police precinct.
The Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office were both alerted on the day of the primary to possible election fraud occurring at the East Broadway School. The NCPD recovered approximately 511 altered sample ballots from the location and safeguarded them, and an investigation was initiated by the NCDA.
Based on the investigation, it was determined that Maldonado allegedly placed a stack of altered sample ballots on top of a poll workers’ table with the intent to influence voters.
The sample ballots were altered to include the words “Fill in Oval Here” handwritten next to it, with an arrow pointing from the handwritten words to the filled oval which indicated a vote for Ferretti. The investigation also found that an identically-altered sample ballot was distributed with Ferretti campaign literature.
At the time of the election both Maldonado and candidate Ferretti worked together at the Office of the Nassau County Clerk. Maldonado, who holds the civil service title of chauffeur at the clerk’s office, had campaigned for his co-worker and served as the president of the Levittown South-North Wantagh Republican Club.
Senior Assistant District Attorneys Sarah Nadeau and Jesse Aviram of DA Singas’ Public Corruption Bureau are prosecuting the case. The defendant is represented by Barry Bassik, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.