Rep. Lee Zeldin
Rep. Lee Zeldin Reuters

A district attorney in Upstate New York has opened a criminal probe into election fraud claims against Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The investigation comes the same week that absentee ballots are being issued.

Zeldin is running against incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.

The Albany District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Board of Elections are opening a criminal probe into thousands of allegedly duplicate signatures submitted during Zeldin’s nomination for the Independence Party. Zeldin was not involved in submitting the signatures, the report stated. That job was done by a senior member of the New York State Republican party.

During the summer, Zeldin campaign spokesperson Katie Vincentz said that the Zeldin campaign had no role in the photocopied signatures, describing Hochul as “desperate for any distraction” as the state experienced a wave of crime. The campaign referred to the governor the "undisputed queen of scandal, abuse, and pay to play corruption,” FOX News reported.

"After months of non-answers and finger-pointing, New Yorkers deserve to know who exactly was involved in Xerox Zeldin’s election fraud scandal. The facts here are clear: Zeldin’s campaign manager knowingly signed off on 47 volumes of petitions containing more than 11,000 photocopied signatures," Hochul campaign manager Brian Lenzmeier said on Sunday.

"As a Congressman, Lee Zeldin supported legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election and pushed baseless conspiracy theories under the banner of ‘election integrity,’ but apparently that doesn’t apply to his own campaign," Lenzmeier added. "His campaign is now implicated in a criminal investigation for attempting to defraud voters and Zeldin needs to be held accountable."