New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal (D) has charged the Paterson, New Jersey City Council vice president, a candidate for that body, and two members of their campaigns, with a litany of election law violations.
Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson (D), Councilman-elect Alex Mendez (D), Shelim Khalique, and Abu Razyen stand accused of election fraud, mail-in voting fraud, and illegal possession of mail-in ballots. The four men face up to more than 15 years in prison and over $250,000 in fines. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s third-largest city lies in a state of electoral disarray.
With 19% percent of total ballots cast disqualified by the board of elections, who controls the city council remains unclear.
The local NAACP chapter is calling for the election — done entirely through vote-by-mail — to be invalidated.
RealClearPolitics’ Mark Hemingway further reports:
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.”
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