Three New Jersey Democrat politicians are being charged with fraud relating to a mail-in voting scam that allegedly happened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charges have been filed against a city councilman, a councilman-elect, the brother of another councilman, and a fourth individual for election fraud in May’s special election. The entire election was conducted via mail-in voting due to fears related to the coronavirus.
NJ 1st Ward Councilman Michael Jackson is accused of collecting mail-in ballots and giving them to the Passaic County Board of Elections without indicating that he was the official bearer with his signature. Prosecutors also allege that Jackson handed in at least one ballot before it had been properly filled out.
In addition, Alex Mendez, another Democrat who was victorious in the 3rd Ward election, allegedly collected mail-in ballots from different voters and submitted fraudulent voter registration applications.
Jackson won re-election with 844 votes while his opponents received 599 and 490 votes, respectively. Mendez won his post with 1,595 votes with his nearest competition receiving 1,350 votes.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service became aware of the alleged scam when they found several hundred mail-in ballots that were “bundled” in a mailbox in Paterson, with hundreds of other ballots found in a different mailbox in nearby Haledon. Overall, there were at least 800 ballots implicated in the alleged scam. This was enough to potentially influence the results of last month’s elections.
Other instances of alleged fraud were reportedly a family affair. Shelim Khalique, a 51-year-old Wayne resident, whose councilman brother, Shahim Khalique, won by just a few votes as a candidate in the 2nd Ward, is accused of illegally collecting and delivering mail-in ballots as well. Khalique is also facing charges of illegally employing a sex offender for his transportation company and hiring school bus drivers without qualifications.
Another suspect Abu Razyen, 21, of Prospect Park, has been taken into custody and charged with mishandling ballots as well.
“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,” state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said after the charges were announced. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”
“While it’s gravely disappointing to see another episode of potential corruption in Paterson, I remain hopeful that this is the final chapter in what unfortunately has plagued our city for generations,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said in a written statement.
“I applaud the Attorney General’s Office for their vigilance, as we look forward toward a seismic shift in our political culture that prioritizes the ideals of democracy that my administration so greatly values,” he added.
With Democrats pushing for nationwide mail-in voting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, what happened in NJ last month could easily happen across the country in November unless electoral integrity is enforced.
“Reimagine Los Angeles” Ballot Initiative Will Strip Almost $1 Billion From Law Enforcement, Court System
It’ll be on the ballot in November.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a ballot initiative that would strip almost $1 billion in funding from the county court system and law enforcement, giving the county’s voters the option of enacting a defunding of police that possibly outpaces anything enacted by any city in the country.
The “Reimagine Los Angeles” ballot initiative strips the courts and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of around $890 million in funds, distributing ten percent of the city’s unallocated budget towards jail alternatives, social work, mental health treatment and other alternatives to the justice system.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva slammed the proposal of the ballot initiative, likening it to a defunding of the sheriff’s department that would recreate the apocalyptic atmosphere of the ‘Mad Max’ films.
The @LACountyBOS just pushed forward agenda item 51-C, advancing the campaign to cont. defunding @LASDHQ & change public safety forever. Do YOU share their opinions? If you don’t want your streets to look like a scene from Mad Max, use your VOICE to tell the board what you think pic.twitter.com/Rzzh9nGo6l
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) July 21, 2020
The sheriff later explained that he’d have to close police precincts and cut back on personnel available for police patrol in the event the initiative passes.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the only member of the county board to vote against placing the proposal on the ballot, citing the large personnel cuts its approval would force the county to make, the questionable legality and vagueness of Reimagine Los Angeles, and her general opposition to defunding the police.
Supervisors Hilda Solis, Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Janice Hahn all voted to approve it, and it’ll be up to Los Angeles County voters to determine its fate in November.
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