New Jersey residents receiving ballots for out-of-state voters, dead people; election officials confident in anti-fraud measures: reports
Some New Jersey residents have received ballots meant for people who have moved out of the state and for deceased voters, but some election officials say they’re confident that anti-fraud measures will take care of it, according to local reports.
Under federal law, anyone convicted of attempting to vote more than once could face up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The issue arose due to a combination of factors, including the state’s distribution of unsolicited ballots and an effort to protect residents from wrongfully being purged from the voter rolls, NJ.com reported.
“Voters cannot be randomly removed from registration,” Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi told the outlet. “Imagine the chaos if one could simply call a Board of Elections and have a voter removed from the rolls? So yes, there are problems.”
New Jersey’s ballots are watermarked and individually barcoded — and board of election workers must verify their signatures, according to the report. Questionable ballots will be reviewed jointly by officials from both the Republican and Democrat parties.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in a joint statement with 11 other Democratic governors Wednesday, said that “all valid ballots cast in accordance with state and local laws must be counted.”
Morris County Republican Chairwoman Laura Ali told the New Jersey Globe that in addition to ballots being sent to outdated addresses and voters who are no longer living, some residents have gotten ballots with their names spelled wrong or an extra one in the mail.
The outlet also reported in June that voters who had changed their names at the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission were receiving extra ballots because they had been given entirely new voter registrations, rather than having their existing registrations changed.
It comes as Democrats and Republicans across the country are squaring off over mail-in and absentee voting. Critics say it can lead to voter fraud, despite the fact that most election security experts have said it is safe and secure. Proponents say it’s a health necessity with the coronavirus pandemic still raging.
In mid-August, President Trump warned that “The 2020 Election will be totally rigged if Mail-In Voting is allowed to take place,” in response to reports that a voter fraud scandal in Paterson, N.J. had resulted in 20 percent of the votes being deemed “corrupted.”
A judge eventually ordered a new election for a contested city council seat there after the apparent winner and an incumbent councilman with charged with voter fraud.
“If you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” the state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at the time. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”
The U.S. Postal Service’s law enforcement arm prompted an investigation after it told the state attorney general’s office about hundreds of mail-in ballots found in a mailbox in Paterson and more in nearby Haledon.