Rensselaer County employees Richard Crist, 55; James Gordon, 42; and Leslie Wallace, 35, were arrested Thursday, April 27 and charged with It is a conspiracy to violate voter rights.

Crist is the county’s director of operations, Gordon is director of the Central Services Bureau, and Wallace works in the Rensselaer County Administrative Office.

The trio used their official positions and power over county workers to obtain absentee ballots on behalf of voters through fraud and intimidation, according to prosecutors.

“These voters did not intend to request an absentee ballot, nor did they seek assistance with voting from Crist, Gordon or Wallace,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

After obtaining the absentee ballots, the three then conspired to cast false and illegal votes in the names of others in the 2021 primary and general elections in Rensselaer County, according to prosecutors.

“Their actions violated the constitutional right of Rensselaer County voters to cast the same number of votes as other voters and made it more likely that the defendant’s preferred candidate would win the election,” prosecutors said.

In addition to the conspiracy charges, Gordon was charged with one count of witness tampering and Wallace was charged with one count of making false statements.

Crist, Gordon and Wallace were arraigned in federal court in Syracuse, where a judge ordered their conditional release pending trial.

A conviction for conspiracy to violate constitutional rights carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

If convicted of witness tampering, Gordon could face an additional 20 years in prison, while the false statement charge could see Wallace get another five years in prison.

News of their arrests comes months after the Rensselaer County Legislature accepted the resignation of current Republican Election Commissioner Jason Schofield after he was charged with similar federal crimes.

In January 2023, Schofield, 43, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of illegally using the names and dates of birth of other voters to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots during the 2021 election in Rensselaer County.

On each count, he faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Friday, May 12.

In June 2022, Republican Troy City Councilwoman Kimberly Ashe-McPherson pleaded guilty to a felony after she pleaded guilty to fraudulently submitting absentee ballots in the 2021 election.

She later resigned from the council.

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