1 in 5 Ballots Rejected as Fraud Is Charged in N.J. Mail-In Election
.By Mark HemingwayJune 26, 2020
1 in 5 Ballots Rejected as Fraud Is Charged in N.J. Mail-In ElectionJoe Lamberti/Camden Courier-Post via AP
Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal (pictured) announced Thursday he is charging four men with voter fraud – including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body.
With races still undecided, control of the council hangs in the balance. Paterson is New Jersey’s third largest city and the election will decide the fate of a municipal budget in excess of $300 million, in addition to hundreds of millions more in education spending and state aid.
In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections.
Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. Community organizations, such as the city’s NAACP chapter, are calling for the entire election to be invalidated.
Mail-in ballots have long been acknowledged by voting experts to be more susceptible to fraud and irregularities than in-person voting. This has raised concerns from President Trump and other Republicans about the integrity of national elections in November, which are expected to include a dramatic increase in mail-in ballots. If Paterson is any guide, it ought to concern Democrats as well.
Over 800 ballots in Paterson were invalidated for appearing in mailboxes improperly bundled together – including a one mailbox where hundreds of ballots were in a single packet.
The bundles were turned over to law enforcement to investigate potential criminal activity related to the collection of the ballots.
The board of elections disqualified another 2,300 ballots after concluding that the signatures on them did not match the signatures on voter records.
Reporting by NBC further uncovered citizens of Paterson who are listed as having voted, but who told the news outlet they never received a ballot and did not vote. One woman, Ramona Javier, after being shown the list of people on her block who allegedly voted, told the outlet she knew of eight family members and neighbors who were wrongly listed. “We did not receive vote-by-mail ballots and thus we did not vote,” she said. “This is corruption. This is fraud.”
There were multiple reports that large numbers of mail-in ballots were left on the lobby floors of apartment buildings and not delivered to residents’ individual mailboxes, further casting doubt on the integrity of the election.
Two of the election results in Paterson were particularly close. Initially, challenger Shahin Khalique defeated incumbent Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman by 1,729 votes to 1,721. After a second recount on June 19, that race is now tied 1,730-1,730. In that race, a video posted to Snapchat has surfaced that appears to show a man named Abu Razyen unlawfully handling a large stack of ballots he indicates are votes for Khalique. Khalique’s brother, Shelim, and Razyen have been charged by the state attorney general for crimes including fraud in casting mail-in votes, tampering, and unauthorized possession of ballots.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/artic ... 43551.html