Voters question petition signatures for Assemblyman Brian Miller

Voters question petition signatures for Assemblyman Brian Miller


  Assemblyman Brian Miller being sworn in. | Assembly


Voters question petition signatures for Assemblyman Brian Miller

“I did not sign that.” “That’s impossible.” “I’d like to know who’s using my name.”
By FRANK G. RUNYEON  |  JULY 25, 2018

Larry Engel, a resident of Hamden, New York, has no use for politics.

“When I get political stuff in the mail, I throw it right in the trash,” Engel said. “Republican, Democrat, you name it. I want nothing to do with any of them.”

And yet, Engel’s name was scrawled on the signature line of a Conservative Party ballot petition for Assemblyman Brian Miller dated June 21. “That’s impossible,” Engel said, as his truck idled in the driveway of his home on Honest Brook Road. The disgruntled resident denied he had signed anything in support of Miller.

George Sydlar, a registered Conservative in Davenport, New York, is also listed as having signed Miller’s petition on June 21, but told City & State, “I did not sign that.” Sydlar said he did not even know who the candidates in the race were. Sydlar later said he contacted the state Board of Elections enforcement counsel’s office with his complaint.

“I’d like to know who’s using my name,” Sydlar said.

Even Delaware County Conservative Party Chairman James Small, who along with his wife, Margaret, showed up on Miller’s petitions, denied that they had signed their names.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said.


These residents are among 171 people whose names were submitted by the reelection campaign for Miller, a Republican, to run on the Conservative Party ballot line. The problem is that more than a dozen of those named voters deny they ever signed it, despite their addresses and supposed signatures appearing on Miller’s petitions, with some calling it a “forgery.”

Miller represents the 101st Assembly District, which snakes through seven counties, meandering 100 miles from the outskirts of Utica to the west of Poughkeepsie.

Out of a total of 171 petition signatures submitted by the Miller campaign, 73 were collected by Kajus Normantas, who has been a paid intern for Miller’s government office. Of those 73, City & State called 24 voters listed on the ballot petition who had working phone numbers on file. The 14 people who answered or called back said they had not signed the petitions. Not one voter City & State spoke to said they signed the petition.

According to the state Board of Elections, “73 signatures are required for a valid Conservative petition in the 101st AD.”

Forging signatures on a petition violates several laws, including election and criminal law, and could be prosecuted as a felony. The Miller campaign denied any wrongdoing. Voters, however, were adamant that their names and signatures were signed by someone else, without their consent.

When City & State first raised the issue of the ballot petition signatures not matching voter signatures on file, Miller told City & State, “This is news to me,” and said his staff reviewed the ballot petition for accuracy before submitting the signatures.

Mike Waterman, a Miller campaign staffer, initially stood behind the signatures. “Signatures were collected properly,” he wrote in an email. But when told several listed voters denied ever signing the ballot petition, Waterman distanced himself from the document. “Those that carried petitions for our campaign maintain that they obtained signatures properly,” he wrote in another email.

Normantas, who gathered the signatures in question, did not respond to calls, emails or social media messages.

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