Reports of voter fraud in hasidic Williamsburg

With New York City voters’ rejection yesterday of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, Jews had reason to hope that this season of political scandals was drawing to a close.

No such luck.

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The New York City Board of Elections reports a pattern of voter fraud in the hasidic community of Williamsburg. At the I.S. 171 voting booth, BOE poll watchers noticed that multiple young hasidic men were attempting to vote under other names, using signatures that did not match their provided IDs. Over the course of the day, an NYPD officer witnessed at least four such attempts, Gothamist reported. In other incidents, teenagers attempted to vote and were unable to provide ID when required to do so.

An anonymous source in the community told Gothamist that the fraud operation was based out of an ultra-Orthodox wedding hall in Williamsburg. Participants  in the scheme were given food and “driven to four or five places” to vote under false names, according to the source.

This is not the first brush with voter fraud for the gasidic community in New York. Last year, multiple complaints were lodged by a progressive group, the New Kings Democrats, about instances of voter fraud in Williamsburg during the New York primary. Likewise, reports of voter fraud and intimidation have long dogged elections in the hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, in upstate New York.

Talia Lavin Talia Lavin is an intern at JTA. A recent Harvard graduate and aspiring novelist, she recently returned from a Fulbright grant in Ukraine, where she studied early 20th-century Hebrew literature.