To the Editor,
The Ramapo political machine spent two years fighting tooth and nail to prevent a ward referendum in Ramapo. The referendum has finally been scheduled for this coming Tuesday, September 30. The referendum will decide whether Ramapo will be divided into six wards for the election of town councilman. Town councilmen are currently elected at large. We find it hard to believe that this morning Judge Garvey of the Supreme Court agreed with St. Lawrence that there is no provision in the law or precedent requiring poll watches! What a terrible black mark against democracy in Ramapo. What a terrible precedent for democracy in New York state. What an embarrassment to the United States!
Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence is currently under investigation by the FBI which raided Ramapo town hall on May 15, 2013. Forty members of the FBI evidence squad spent eight hours removing hard disks and boxes of documents from town hall. St. Lawrence and four other members of his regime are currently being sued for $8 million (plus punitive damages) by Melissa Reimer, the suspended head of his finance department. She has provided the FBI with two years of audio recordings which she claims support her charge that illegal financial manipulations have been carried out in Ramapo.
St. Lawrence has imposed an illegal gag order on his civilian employees barring them from discussing town activities, including “confidential public” information to persons outside of town hall. It is not surprising that St. Lawrence wants his own regime to conduct the ward referendum without any outside oversight. Can we expect that his town clerk will do his best to prevent any election irregularities?
There is a world-wide consensus that poll watching is an essential means to safeguard the integrity of elections. In fact, nongovernmental agencies from the United States and other countries have for many years supervised elections throughout the world in order to protect the democratic progress. Unless the Civil Rights Division of the United States Justice Department intervenes there will be no way to protect the democratic process in Ramapo this coming Tuesday. We are asking the Civil Rights Division of the United State Justice Department to intervene and monitor this election in order to protect the democratic rights of our citizens.
Robert I. Rhodes, Ph.D.
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo