Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, and two other men are alleged to have exploited the mail-in voting process in the May 12th Special election in Paterson, New Jersey.
The investigation was opened when U.S. Postal Inspection Service found hundreds of mail-in ballots stuffed in a single mailbox in Paterson and a number of additional ballots in a mailbox in Haledon.
“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 Attorney General Grewal. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”
Jackson, who represents the City’s 1st Ward and is the Vice President of the City Council, is alleged to have solicited voters to hand over their ballots and is alleged to have turned in ballots without being the authorization bearer to do so. His charges include election fraud, fraud in casting mail-in vote, unauthorized possession of ballots, false registration or transfer, tampering with public records, and falsifying or tampering with records.
“The residents of New Jersey have a right to free and fair elections, and we will ensure that happens,” said 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.”
Governor Phil Murphy ordered that elections be conducted by mail in New Jersey, according to a March 19th executive order. Murphy did so over concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Since the order was placed, however, there have been many mistakes that threaten the integrity of the elections. For example, Passaic County Board of Elections commissioners failed to count 800 ballots, a county spokesperson earlier told NJ.com.
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
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have expressed concerns over widespread mail-in voting, and have warned that the process could lead to fraud. On Monday, The President wrote on Twitter, “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”