A Queens man was indicted this week for allegedly submitting 20 falsified absentee ballot applications for the Democratic primary in 2022, the county district attorney’s office announced.
“Every vote has to count. Election integrity is the foundation of a viable, working democracy. We will vigorously prosecute anyone who threatens in any way to undermine that integrity. To investigate and prosecute anyone for voter fraud takes time and resources I am willing to commit,” Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a press release.
The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Abdul Rahman of Queens’ Floral Park neighborhood, who could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of 140 charges against him. Rahman is described by outlet the Gothamist as a man “active in Democrat and South Asian circles.”
The District Attorney’s press release detailed that Rahman is accused of casting 20 ballots in August of 2022. Prosecutors said he had applied to collect 118 ballots for voters in the area, and gained approval for 32 of the 118 ballot applications.
The district attorney’s office did not say which candidates received support from the ballots Rahman allegedly cast.
One man, identified by the office as Jordan Sandke, said he visited his polling station on August 23, 2022, to vote in the Democratic primary election, but was told that he could not vote, as he had requested an absentee ballot. Investigators were able to track down Sandke’s ballot application, which included his personal information and a signature and was dated August 1, 2022. Investigators also found that Rahman was listed as the authorized individual to pick up Sandke’s ballot, according to the DA’s office.
“Sandke, however, had not filled out, signed or submitted the application, and said he had never met the defendant or authorized him to pick up an absentee ballot on his behalf,” the press release stated.
Law enforcement officers later interviewed voters whose names and information were listed on the other ballot applications and learned that “none of them had themselves submitted the form, much less authorized Rahman to pick a ballot up for them,” according to the DA’s office.
“The Board of Elections in the City of New York is proud to once again have identified and referred an election integrity issue to law enforcement,” Board of Elections Deputy Executive Director Vincent Ignizio said in the press release.
“Our government partners in the Queens District Attorney’s Office did an amazing job at investigating this case and bringing it to indictment. Protecting our democracy and the elections process is the responsibility of all Americans – and the Board is grateful to District Attorney Melinda Katz and her staff for all of their efforts in this investigation.”
In all, Rahman is facing: 20 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree; 20 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree; 20 counts of falsifying business records in the second degree; 20 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree; 20 counts of illegal voting; and 20 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.
Rahman faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to return to court on January 30, 2024.
“I thank my Public Corruption Bureau and the Board of Elections for their important work on this case. The integrity of elections will be upheld in this borough,” the Queens DA added.