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In a city council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. (Photo: Orbon Alija/Getty Images) Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, New Jersey, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Thursday he is charging four men with voter fraud —including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body.

With races still undecided, control of the council hangs in the balance. Paterson is New Jersey’s third-largest city and the election will decide the fate of a municipal budget in excess of $300 million, in addition to hundreds of millions more in education spending and state aid.

In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted . More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections.

Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. Community organizations, such as the city’s NAACP chapter, are calling for the entire election to be invalidated .

Mail-in ballots have long been acknowledged by voting experts to be more susceptible to fraud and irregularities than in-person voting. This has raised concerns from President Donald Trump and other Republicans about the integrity of national elections in November, which are expected to include a dramatic increase in mail-in ballots.

If Paterson is any guide, it ought to concern Democrats as well.

Over 800 ballots in Paterson were invalidated for appearing in mailboxes improperly bundled together—including one mailbox where hundreds of ballots were in a single packet. The bundles were turned over to law enforcement to investigate potential criminal activity related to the collection of the ballots.

The board of […]


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