Green Party Member Files Paperwork Against Notary in Petition Controversy

CORNING, N.Y. (WETM-18) – A local member of the Green Party who had his name fraudulently circulated for a possible run in the 23rd Congressional District is taking action against the man responsible.

Darin Robbins says he has filed paperwork with the New York Department of State, looking to have Aaron Keister’s notary public license revoked. WETM first brought you this story back in May, when magazine Mother Jones said “shenanigans” were being pulled in the district by a Republican operative.

Keister, who is a registered Republican and lives in Corning, signed petitions that were circulated to put two Green Party members on the ballot in the 23rd District, but neither person had given him consent to do so. When we spoke to him at his home last month, Keister originally said he did not know what we were talking about in regards to the petitions, and then said he had no comment.

Robbins says because the petitions were circulated and signed fraudulently, he wants Keister’s notary license taken away. “Aaron Keister, the person who collected these fraudulent petitions, collected them as a notary,” said Robbins. “And therefore, I believe because these petitions are fraudulent, that he misused his responsibility as a notary.”

Robbins says the Green Party has also filed a formal complaint over the matter with the New York State Board of Elections, and are waiting to hear back about a ruling there. The Green Party may still consider legal action against Keister after the Board of Elections and Department of State make their rulings.

Robbins also says this is just another example in New York State of Republicans and Democrats trying to invade the Green Party line and preventing them from being an independent, third-party option in state politics. The party is fighting to keep their automatic ballot line with gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins this November.

WETM stopped by Keister’s home Thursday to see if he had any comment about the newest developments in this story. He was not home. WETM left a message at his home, and have not heard back from him.

For their part, the National Republican Congressional Committee says they paid Keister to film a few events of 23rd District Democratic Congressional Candidate Martha Robertson in late 2013, but had no contact with him in the months before he circulated the petitions. Keister was paid $768.47 on March 19th by the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee, according to FEC documents.

You can see the petitions that were circulated by Keister by clicking this link.

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