A Water Mill man was arrested Friday for allegedly submitting two absentee ballot applications for his mother months after she died, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Wayne Tappe, 57, was charged with two felony counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 5 at Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip.
“Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we will not tolerate any violation of the election process here in Suffolk County,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said. “My office is committed to investigating any and all instances of alleged voter fraud and prosecuting anyone who attempts to violate the security of our elections.”
Authorities said the Suffolk County Board of Elections received two applications for absentee ballots for a Lucille Tappe, of Commack, that indicated they were signed on Sept. 4 and Oct. 6, but the agency had been notified in June by the New York State Department of Health that Tappe had died on June 16.
On Sept. 9, the BOE received an application for an absentee ballot from her son, Wayne, after the agency had already received an absentee ballot application from him in March. The agency referred the applications to prosecutors for investigation.
A forensic scientist at the county Crime Laboratory conducted a handwriting analysis of the September application from the mother and found that it was written by her son, according to investigators.
Tappe faces up to four years in prison, if convicted.
Authorities ask any Suffolk County residents looking to report suspected voter fraud can call the district attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau at 631-853-8298.
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