WPCNR EVENING CITY STAR REPORTER. September 13, 2002: The eight Town Clerk Offices in Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, Pound Ridge and White Plains reported to WPCNR that they did not receive the impoundment order from the Board of Elections to lock down and guard the 89th Assembly District voting machines until Thursday morning between the hour of approximately 11 AM and 12 noon, just one day before the recanvass begins Friday.
Seven town clerk offices outside White Plains reported to WPCNR Thursday they had received the faxed copy of Adam Bradley’s Impoundment Order signed by Judge Orazio Bellantoni at the Board of Elections offices Tuesday evening, about 23 hours after it was signed and served to the Board of Elections by Mr. Bradley personally.
It was not until 12 noon Thursday that clerks we spoke to proceeded to initiate lockdown procedures for the voting machines. According to Mr. Bradley, he met with Judge Bellantoni at the Board of Elections headquarters in White Plains Tuesday evening at 11:30 P.M. to have the Judge sign a court order impounding the machines.
By 11:30 PM when Mr. Bradley had gone to have the order signed, no election returns had been posted since 10:15 PM by the Board of Elections, and the vote margin was 80 votes. Mr. Bradley knew the race was “too close to call,” and moved, as is standard in close elections to impound the machines.
Bradley told WPNCR at 5 PM Thursday evening that he went from the judge directly to one of the Board of Elections Commissioners, and presented the Court order.
Impoundment process fails to comply with courtset deadline: 11 hours late.
WPCNR’s photograph of the actual court order indicates that the impoundment calls for securing of the voting machines by 12 noon, Wednesday, September 11.
According to the Town Clerk offices and three town clerks who spoke with WPCNR in person, Thursday morning was the first time they had even heard of an impoundment order being issued.
County Police Responsible for Notifying Towns.
According to a City of White Plains source, the Westchester County Public Safety Commissioner (now Lewis D’Aliso) has the responsibility for notifying the town clerks through the local police departments of an impoundment order via teletype.
The Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety, William Rehm, when asked if the impoundment order had been teletyped, said he would check into it, and phoned WPCNR back to say that “We never received any order for an impoundment and so we didn’t send out a teletype.”
Just an Innocent Question.
WPCNR was curious Thursday morning as to how an impoundment proceding was executed so we contacted Janice Manieri, the White Plains City Clerk, to explain the process.
Ms. Manieri told WPCNR Thursday morning that she had not received an impoundment order, but when she read the Journal News Wednesday morning, reading of the impoundment, she ordered the machines impounded as a conscientious measure.
Town Clerk shocked.
One Town Clerk (who volunteered that she supported Naomi Matusow), said she had been expecting an impoundment Wednesday, because, she said, there is almost always an impoundment order issued in a such a close election. She said she called the Board of Elections Wednesday and asked if an impoundment was coming. She was told “No,” but did not tell us the Board of Elections official who said no impoundment order was in effect.
Impoundment Orders Faxed After WPCNR Call.
WPCNR spoke to Ms. Minieri, the White Plains City Clerk at approximately 9:30 Thursday morning. When she told us she had not received the impoundment order, WPCNR contacted the Board of Elections, and said that White Plains had not received the impoundment order. The person we spoke to said, it was faxed. A few minutes later, WPCNR called the Board of Elections back, and was told “we’re checking on it.” By this time it was approximately 10:30 A.M.
Not quite believing the impoundment order had not been served by the Board of Elections, WPCNR polled the clerks offices around the 89th District.
Each office WPCNR talked with said faxed copies of the impoundment order were then received approximately 11 A.M. at the 7 offices we called. The information was willingly and graciously provided by the actual town clerks or personnel in the Town Clerk offices or legal officials in Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, Pound Ridge and White Plains WPCNR contacted, even being so courteous as to call WPCNR back.
Voting machines locked up in many cases
Three town clerks we spoke to said the voting machines were locked up any way in storage garages, though not under any special impoundment-level protection. WPCNR did not ask where the machines were before they reached their typical storage locations.
When we talked to Adam Bradley about impoundment impediment, he was shocked that his order had just been sent to Assembly District 89 Town Clerks today. He had not checked on whether the impoundment orders had been served or not, automatically, assuming that the impoundments would be executed in a timely manner as “they have been for the last 15 years,” as he put it.
Bradley said Thursday evening that he had been told by Carolee Sunderland that the impoundment order had been sent to the police Tuesday evening to be served, but that the person was new “and did not know what to do with it.”
A Town Clerk said she did not think it made any sense to impound less than one day before a recanvass was to start.
Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Carolee Sunderland was contacted by WPCNR first thing Thursday morning to talk about the impoundment procedure, before we contacted Ms. Minieri. Sunderland did return the call at 6:15 PM when WPCNR was unable to speak with her.