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Four people including an elected city councilman and a councilman-elect in New Jersey have been charged with mail-in vote fraud after authorities discovered hundreds of ballots in their possession.
According to a statement from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, charges were filed Thursday against Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, and two other men in connection with the May 12 special election in the city.
The attorney general’s statement indicates that the men allegedly took advantage of a universal mail-in ballot mandate due to the coronavirus pandemic:
The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) began when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Attorney General’s Office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson. Numerous additional ballots were found in a mailbox in nearby Haledon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voting in May 12 elections in New Jersey was done by mail-in ballots.
“Today’s charges send a clear message: if you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” said Grewal, a Democrat. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”
“The residents of New Jersey have a right to free and fair elections, and we will ensure that happens,” added OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “Our office’s criminal investigations complement a number of other safeguards that New Jersey has implemented to ensure the integrity of our elections.”
Also charged were Shelim Khalique of Wayne, N.J., and Abu Razyen, of Prospect Park, N.J.
All four men are charged with some combination of second, third, and fourth-degree crimes that carry between three and 10 years in prison.
All voting in New Jersey this year will be conducted by mail-in balloting, per order of Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat.
That said, there have been other instances of mail-in voting irregularities in his state this year.
In mid-May, NJ.com reported that the Passaic County Board of Elections commissioners decided not to count 800 ballots “that were left on the floor of an apartment building in Paterson, U.S. postal service spokesman George Flood said.”
Also, several hundred Republicans in the New Jersey community of Bernardsville received Democrat-only ballots, even though they are registered GOP voters.
“The slate of candidates was all Democrat from Joe Biden down to dogcatcher, but on the upper right it clearly stated it was a Republican ballot and it had my name and correct information on the return envelope,” said Karen Gardner, the chairwoman of the Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee.
The Somerset County clerk’s office blamed the error on the printer.
“If we had had a greater lead time when we were sending out these ballots, we would have been able to do the ballot insertion in-house and this error would have been caught,” Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter said.
There have been several other instances of alleged mail-in vote fraud, which is why President Donald Trump is vehemently against it.
RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
In an interview with Fox News late last month, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany explained that the potential for massive mail-in vote fraud lies with outdated registration rolls.
“Where in L.A. County you have 112% of the population registered, ask yourself how that happens, and 112% of the population gets a ballot. That leaves 12 percent subject to fraud. At least 12 percent fraud. So that’s what he’s against,” she said.