In upstate New York, a GOP election official is caught and charged with a brazen ballot scheme.
The Republican elections board commissioner in Rensselaer County, which is in upstate New York, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he used a sneaky ballot scheme that let him vote in the names of other people.
Court papers say that Jason Schofield applied for absentee ballots for voters who didn't want to vote and, in some cases, pushed voters to sign absentee ballot envelopes. This made it possible for him or his friends to commit voter fraud in the primary and general elections in 2021.
In the 12-count indictment against Schofield, it says that at least four voters were told to sign ballot envelopes but were not allowed to finish them.
"Schofield could vote or have other people vote in the names of the RVs," the court documents said, using an acronym for "registered voters."
The nine-page charge was filed in the U.S. last Thursday. The Northern District of New York District Court.
The U.S. attorney's office in Albany says that Schofield, a 42-year-old man from Troy, New York, faces up to five years in prison for each of 12 counts of illegal possession and use of a means of identification.
"He says he is innocent," his lawyer Danielle Neroni said over the phone Tuesday afternoon.
The Albany Times Union said that the FBI arrested Schofield outside of his home on Tuesday morning. He pleaded not guilty in court in the afternoon.
Schofield was let go until his trial, which was set to take place in front of Judge Mae D'Agostino. The Times Union says that as he left his arraignment hearing, he refused to say anything.
The Times Union said that he was asked to testify earlier this year in connection with a wide-ranging ballot investigation. This is the same investigation that led a Troy city councilwoman to plead guilty to one count of identity theft.
When asked for a comment, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections did not respond right away. The elections board is in Troy, which is about 7 miles northeast of the center of Albany.
Rensselaer County is a swing county. In 2016, it voted for former President Donald Trump, and in 2020, it voted for President Joe Biden.