Democrats Indicted on Voter Fraud Charges Over Mail-In Ballot Scheme
Officials caught meddling in special election on behalf of Democratic lawmaker
Two Democrats have been indicted on voter fraud charges after they were caught rigging a special election on behalf of a Democratic lawmaker in New Jersey, according to reports.
Paterson City Council Democrats Alex Mendez and Michael Jackson have been charged for their roles in a mail-in ballot harvesting scheme.
The pair was initially charged last June as part of a "voter fraud ring" along with fellow Council members Shelim Khalique and Abu Razyen.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the charges in a press conference this week.
Grewal confirmed the Democrat City Council members tried to interfere with a special election last year with an illegal ballot harvesting scheme.
The case was previously cited last year by President Donald Trump as evidence of mail-in-voting-related fraud.
The case was mentioned in Trump's unsuccessful lawsuit to try and invalidate voting by mail in New Jersey, according to NBC.
Alex Mendez won the special election to fill a council seat on May 12, but voter fraud claims soon surfaced.
The state attorney general’s office initiated a probe after U.S. Postal Service inspectors said they found hundreds of mail-in ballots located in a mailbox in Paterson, along with more found in nearby Haledon.
Ultimately, the Passaic County Board of Elections decided not to count 800 ballots cast in the race and a judge ordered a new election for last November.
Mendez, 45, and Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, 49, were originally charged in a criminal complaint last June.
Despite the pending criminal charges, Mendez won a tight race in November.
The indictments handed up last month charge Mendez and Jackson with multiple counts including election fraud, unauthorized possession of ballots, and falsifying or tampering with public records.
The state attorney general’s office alleged the men collected ballots from voters and delivered them to county officials, which candidates are prohibited from doing.
Each of the men faces three to five years in prison for third-degree crimes, up to 18 months in prison for fourth-degree crimes, and five to 10 years in prison for second-degree crimes.
Altogether, the men could be asked to pay more than $250,000 in fines.
The charges come after Paterson’s all mail-in ballot election was allegedly rife with fraud.
Grewal confirmed that almost 20 percent of the mail-in votes cast were thrown out by the Board of Elections.