Friday, October 02, 2009

The Write Stuff

It started off last weekend as a political bombshell. Top level Democratic officials, candidates and operatives accused of dozens of acts of ballot forgery and fraud. And it has only gotten worse, with the Democrat scandal going national and on Thursday, taking center stage in the County Court House.

There was a parade of voters who have signed affidavits, stating they did not sign ballots or absentee applications. Watching closely was a special prosecutor appointed to handle the cases, which may involve as many as 51 ballots either forged or handled fraudulently.

Exactly who handled the ballots is likely to become a bigger issue. Some of the absentee ballots in question were designated for release to Democrat operative Tom Aldrich. But Aldrich said he never handled the ballots, raising more serious questions.

In the rough and tumble world of Rensselaer County politics, there has been no shortage of charges tossed back and forth between political parties over ballots. But the allegations that dozens of ballots were forged, with affidavits from voters accompanying those charges, is unprecedented, even for our county.

Unprecedented too, is the damage to the Democratic Party. In just one week, Democrats have been derailed by a huge scandal that has sparked a new debate over leadership of the party and ethics in the organization. The damage could be seen at Thursday's Council meeting, where Democrat council members shouted down speakers and looked bad for viewers of evening newscasts across the Capital Region.

Popular Troy Chairman Frank LaPosta won points by calling on Council candidates implicated in the scandal to abandon their campaigns. The Troy GOP called for suspension of the workers allegedly involved. And the furor over the forgeries does not seem ready to die down.