Utica, N.Y.— Oneida County and the United States Department of Justice are currently in negotiations to settle after the DOJ notified Oneida County attorney Peter Rayhill that they planned on suing the county for voter disenfranchisement.
“The point here is there were issues raised through the lawsuit that was before Justice Delconte in which the question of voter ability was denied in some way,” Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive explained.
This comes in response to the recent 22nd congressional court case that exposed multiple errors by the Oneida County Board of Elections, most importantly the over 2,000 voter registrations from the DMV that they failed to process on time. Despite the many errors made by the county board of elections in the 2020 election congresswoman Claudia Tenney believes that the DOJ has no legal basis to sue and is disappointed in the county’s response.
“Weird claim coming from the DOJ trying to say that Oneida County somehow had some civil rights violation is completely frivolous and false,” Tenney said. “There were no civil rights violations by Oneida County. I think it was an attempt to intimidate the county and to maybe get some money out of them, and I do think and I hate to say this but it was an attempt by my opponent to try and minimize or cast doubt on my win in claiming that the only reason I won was some civil rights claim and I think that’s a real clear sign of a sore loser and an attempt by Brindisi to try and step on my victory.”
Congresswoman Tenney was frustrated that the county did not defend tax payers and the fact the county was in a terrible position at the time, but County Executive Picente was quick to point out that Tenney was the one who filed the lawsuit that exposed the counties errors.
“That’s petty politics,” Picente said in response to Tenney’s claims. “And that’s a ridiculous kind of statement to make. First of all the former congressman is no longer in office she is, secondly the lawsuit that started this whole process was brought by Claudia Tenney. My role and the role of our county law department is not to defend one candidate or the other, it’s to defend the voters of this community and the board of elections in that regard.”
The county executive further explained that New York State Supreme Court Justice Scott Delconte found that federal law was in question in terms of the disenfranchisement of voters, he believes that the judge’s ruling is what caught the DOJ’s attention.