Brooklyn Eagle (May 25, 1944)
State opens drive against vote frauds
Herlands appointed to set up permanent nonpartisan bureau
By Joseph H. Schmalacker
A sweeping drive to block ballot frauds was opened by the state today when William B. Herlands, Mayor La Guardia’s former Commissioner of Investigations, was called in by Nathaniel L. Goldstein, the Attorney General, to organize a new Election Frauds Bureau in the State Law Department.
The new bureau, authorized by the Legislature under a $50,000 appropriation, will be permanent and will be formed on nonpartisan lines, Mr. Goldstein announced.
Herlands, a former Brooklyn resident, who is now living in Manhattan, was appointed by Mr. Goldstein as the bureau’s organizer with the rank of Special Deputy Attorney General at a salary which will be at the rate of $750 a month. His assignment will be part-time and he will continue to maintain his private law offices.
Must guard sanctity of ballot
Mr. Goldstein said:
While Americans on the battlefield are fighting a war to preserve democracy, we on the home front must vigilantly guard the sanctity of the ballot so that the vote of the soldier in the field and the civilian at home may be properly protected. The right to vote for candidates of one’s own choosing, the secrecy of the ballot and an honest count of the votes cast lie at the very root of our form of government. These rights must be preserved, even though we may differ as to candidates and issues. It is more important that our elections be conducted free from fraud and according to law than that any particular candidate should win.
Mr. Goldstein said Democrats as well as Republicans would be named to staff the new bureau. The appropriation to permit the new agency to be organized was urged upon the Legislature last winter by Mr. Goldstein. This was after a special report had been submitted to him by J. Edward Lumbard Jr., a special deputy who headed an investigation of election frauds last year.
The investigation was centered in Albany and other large population areas, including Brooklyn, where a spot-check last year uncovered evidence of considerable election irregularities. The Brooklyn investigation was in charge of A. David Benjamin, a special deputy.
Herlands familiar with task
Mr. Herlands, before his appointment in the La Guardia administration, was chief assistant to Governor Dewey while the latter was making his investigation of rackets in New York County. He resigned as Commissioner of Investigations March 1.
Attorney General Goldstein said Mr. Herlands was familiar with election law problems and that he and Mr. Lumbard prosecuted a number of election officials for ballot frauds committed in 1932.