In a New Jersey city council election that was decided by just a handful of votes, over 3,000 ballots were reportedly set aside, raising questions about the legitimacy of the election.
As elections all over the country are taking place by mail-in ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city council elections in Patterson, New Jersey, have been hit with a slew of allegations of voter fraud.
Earlier this month, the fraud allegations began to surface on the night before the election, after the US Postal Service reported mailboxes stuffed with hundreds of ballots that were improperly bundled, NBC4 reported. The Passaic County Board of Elections released a statement that said “U.S. Postal authorities informed the Passaic County Board of Elections about bundled vote-by-mail ballots within their possession.”
— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) May 19, 2020
“These ballots have been delivered to the county and set aside,” they added. “Board of Elections Commissioners will determine tomorrow whether these ballots will be counted. Any potential irregularities will be handed off to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.” (RELATED: Crowd Cheers As NJ Cop Allows Gym To Reopen Despite Notifying Owner Of Lockdown Violation)
In addition to the roughly 800 ballots that were discounted due to allegations of fraud from the US Postal Service, another 2,300 ballots were not counted, according to the Paterson Press. In total, 19% of all the ballots cast were disqualified.
Keith Furlong, a spokesman for Passaic County government, said that the additional 2,300 ballots were not counted due to the county’s practice of comparing signatures on the ballots with those that were on file for the voters, which he said was “part of the normal process,” according to the Paterson Press report.
“This is the first ever all VBM [vote by mail] election,” Furlong told the Daily Caller when asked what could account for the high number of ballots set aside this year.
“Matching of voter signatures is part of the standard process for reviewing ballots, but this is not a ‘normal’ election,” he said.
Of Paterson’s six ward seats that were voted on, four of them had a higher number of votes disqualified than the winner’s margin of victory. This means that in each of those, the discounted votes could have changed the outcome of the election.
Furlong told the Daily Caller that “all voters who had their ballots disallowed will be notified.” When asked about investigations into the alleged voter fraud, Furlong referred us to law enforcement, who have not yet responded to a request for comment.