GOP lawmaker who said 2020 was rigged is accused of election fraud
Lee Zeldin speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit in 2019. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The Republican nominee to be New York's governor has been accused of election fraud, threatening his chances of having his name under the Independence Party on the November ballot, Newsweek reports.

Lee Zeldin was a supporter of former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. As a GOP congressman, he voted against the certification of the election's results, saying, the "debate is necessary because rogue election officials, secretaries of state and courts circumvented state election laws."

But according to Newsweek, nearly 13,000 signatures on petitions for Zeldin to appear on the Independence Party line on the ballot have been invalidated by the New York State Board of Elections after the New York Libertarian Party's secretary, Andrew Kolstee, alleged that around 11,000 of Zeldin's signatures were copies of other pages.

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The 13,000 now-invalidated signatures bring Zeldin below the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot.

"While petition signature fraud is different than voter fraud, which Trump alleged had occurred in 2020, it is considered a form of election fraud according to the conservative Heritage Foundation," Newsweek reports. "The right-wing organization describes 'ballot petition fraud,' which is defined as "forging the signatures of registered voters on the ballot petitions that must be filed with election officials in some states for a candidate or issue to be listed on the official ballot," as a 'type' of election fraud."