The city Sheriff's Office said yesterday that it makes a small force of deputies available every Election Day to handle election-related disputes - contradicting a deputy city commissioner who said that political candidates have to enforce court orders themselves.
The dispute followed a report in yesterday's Daily News that a Common Pleas judge, Joyce Eubanks, went to a number of Germantown polling places on Election Day, confiscating sample ballots that didn't carry her name.
Eubanks had obtained a court order from one of her colleagues, Judge Harold M. Kane, holding that the 13th Ward's sample ballots were illegal because they didn't specify who paid for them.
Then, Eubanks drove to at least eight voting divisions, brandishing Kane's opinion and carting away hundreds of sample ballots, according to ward leader Rosita Youngblood, a state House member.
Eubanks' personal enforcement role appeared to expand on Kane's court order, which authorized only election officials and the Sheriff's Office to confiscate the campaign literature.
But Fred Voigt, a deputy city commissioner, defended Eubanks, saying that "the sheriff doesn't enforce any of that stuff. It's typically enforced by whoever sought the order."
Sheriff John Green disputed Voigt's statement. Wanda Davis, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said the agency had six deputies and two supervisors standing by on Election Day, in case there were any election orders that had to be enforced.
But nobody ever asked the Sheriff's Office to get involved, in Germantown or anywhere else, Davis said.
"We would have gone right out," Davis said. "There's no charge to enforce election matters. . . . We just want to make sure it's a fair election."
Voigt, who used to run the Committee of Seventy, an election-watchdog group, stood his ground.
"Find me somebody who's used the sheriff [for election enforcement matters]," Voigt said. "I've never seen them used. They may be there, lurking in the shadows, but nobody uses them." *