Mail-in ballots in New Jersey ‘may have been destroyed’ in delivery vehicle fire, Postal Service says

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New Jersey officials have sent residents an “urgent notice” that their mail-in ballots “may have been destroyed” in a postal vehicle fire, adding to existing concerns over the validity of voting without having to show up at a polling station.

That is especially true in the Garden State, where there have been a number of issues related to mail-in voting, including allegations of fraud.

According to NJ.com, mail-in ballots could have been aboard a U.S. Postal Service truck that caught fire and burned a week ago in Morris Township, spokesperson George Flood said.

The postal vehicle was carrying mail to 91 addresses on six streets when it began experiencing mechanical problems and caught fire the afternoon of June 20, Postal Service officials noted.

As such, an “urgent notice to voters living in Morris Township” has been sent by the Morris County Clerk’s office advising any Democrat or Republican registered voter who didn’t get a vote-by-mail ballot, as well as any unaffiliated voters who didn’t get a vote-by-mail application, to contact officials quickly.

New Jersey’s primary election was originally scheduled for June 2 but the date was pushed back to July 7 and will largely be vote-by-mail due to the lingering coronavirus pandemic, the report noted.

An editorial at Law Enforcement Today noted that the incident could be ripe for vote fraud.

“First class mail is not tracked so there would be no way to know if people at these addresses had already received their ballots, thus enabling them to call and request additional ballots at will. Interesting,” the op-ed noted, adding: “It gets better.”

The op-ed continued:

The signature on the ballots is visual matched to the signature on file, a method which caused 9.6% of mail in ballots to be rejected in 31 municipalities that held elections on May 12. 

So, there is a possibility that duplicate ballots might be caught, but there is also a possibility that they wouldn’t or that alternate names could be assigned (such as a dead relative or a household pet).

And while ‘ballot-harvesting’ — allowing ‘volunteers’ to collect mail-in ballots, which breaks the chain of custody — is not legal in New Jersey, the op-ed noted further, the postal truck incident only further heightens concerns about the security of an all-mail-in election.

“What if these ballots weren’t on their way to the voters, but were on their way back from the voters?” Law Enforcement Today observed. “Would those votes have been counted?  Would people cry voter suppression then when these very same people are the ones saying not allowing this insecure practice is voter suppression now?”

New Jersey voters have been particularly abused by the mail-in balloting process.

On Thursday, BizPac Review reported that four individuals were indicted on various charges of election and ballot fraud, including an elected city councilman and a councilman-elect.

According to a statement from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, “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. We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”

Indicted were Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, Shelim Khalique of Wayne, N.J., and Abu Razyen, of Prospect Park, N.J.

While Grewal’s indictments are encouraging, there have been additional problems that aren’t necessarily illegal, but raise suspicions nonetheless.

Last month, 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.”

In addition, several hundred Republicans in the New Jersey community of Bernardsville received Democrat-only ballots earlier this month, 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.

Election officials blamed the error on the printer.

Jon Dougherty

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