Mail-in voting opens pandora’s box for fraud opportunities.
By Shane Trejo – 6/26/2020
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.