Teaneck Councilman Rudolph Offers Un-Orthodox Excuse for Violating Voting Rule

"I didn't think it was wrong," to vote in Brooklyn after he moved to Teaneck, the councilman says.

What? If you are acting like a politician at least pretend to take the political voting rules seriously.
Teaneck councilman assailed for voting in N.Y.C.

TEANECK — Critics have attacked Councilman Elnatan Rudolph for voting in New York City in September 2005, six months after he moved to Teaneck.

Barbara Toffler, a candidate in the May non-partisan election, accused Rudolph, who is seeking reelection this spring, of having "low character" for what she called a violation of the law.

Rudolph said the controversy is a "non-issue" and accused Toffler of engaging in "gutter politics."

"When I ran in 2006, I had no thought of where I voted in 2005," he said. "I was a resident of Teaneck for more than a year. They brought this up now to try to make hay of it. It honestly makes no difference."

Toffler broached the subject at a council meeting 10 days ago, igniting angry words on both sides. The criticisms persisted, prompting Rudolph to read a prepared statement at Tuesday's council meeting blasting his accusers for ignoring more important issues.

But Toffler on Wednesday said that the vote was an obvious violation of election law.

"He's being very casual about breaking the law," she said. "If that is what this town wants in its leadership, then this town is doomed to disaster."

Rudolph said he was in Brooklyn, where he used to live with his parents, on primary day in September 2005 and drove his mother to the polls. When he realized he was still registered, he said, he also cast a vote.

"I thought it was no different than voting absentee," he said. "Never did it cross my mind that there was anything wrong with that." He compared it to residents who move to Florida for several months each year but continue to vote in New York, though he acknowledged that he had moved to Teaneck permanently by that time.

In general, election laws require voters to cast ballots based on the location of their primary residence, which can be determined by a number of factors, including property ownership and tax filings.

Residents who criticized Rudolph have asked whether the vote indicated that Rudolph had not lived in Teaneck for the required 12 months before running for office in spring 2006. Rudolph said he moved into his house on March 20, 2005 — his wedding day.

"This whole issue is a non-issue," he said. If [Toffler] had anything legitimate to attack me on, like my performance over the last two years, she wouldn't have to go and make things up."

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