Rathbone Election 2011 is OVER: Dan Farrand and Others Will Not Be Charged
March 20, 2013
ELMIRA, NY - Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore will not be prosecuting Rathbone Town Supervisor Dan Farrand, or Town Council candidates Lanny Newell, Duane Miles, or Highway Superintendent candidate Steven Kirk. "A prosecutor is responsible for proving all of his or her cases beyond a reasonable doubt - a heavy burden in all respects," the district attorney wrote. "After investigating this matter, I concluded that there was simply not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that candidates Dan Farrand, Lanny Newell, Steve Kirk, and Duane Miles committed any crimes or offenses under New York State law. Consequently, after reviewing all of the evidence and the potential charges associated with this case, it was determined that the candidates would not be criminally prosecuted," the Chemung County D.A. stated in his report.
Wetmore noted that the reason that he was handling the Steuben County case is because both former Steuben County District Attorney John Tunney and current Steuben County D.A. Brooks Baker recused themselves.
The issue of concern in the 2011 Town of Rathbone elections was the high number of absentee ballots, as noted in articles by the Bath Courier Express reporter Mary Perham. In the Chemung County District Attorney’s report, D.A. Wetmore says the number of absentee ballots cast was more than the number of applications for absentees filed. The D.A. maintains that happened because some of the voters were already on the permanent absentee ballot list and did not have to submit a second application.
However, District Attorney Wetmore criticized the Rathbone candidates in question, for allegedly encouraging voters to submit absentee ballots, whether those particular voters were out of town on election day or not. According to Wetmore’s report, State Police Investigator Kurt Eaton alleged that some of the candidates realized that they could get more votes if people were voting absentee, so the voters could avoid going to a polling site on election day, November 8, 2011. The Chemung County District Attorney also frowned upon the candidates themselves taking part in the process of collecting the absentee ballots, and in some cases, allegedly filling in the ballots for the voters.