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New election fraud charges have been filed against a pair of New Jersey Democrats involving voter registration and mail-in ballots, according to a Saturday report.
Just the News reported that State Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office announced that the pair is facing state election fraud charges stemming from 2020 and 2021. The charges stem from races that took place in two different cities. One of the cases has been ongoing for more than three years, the outlet continued.
“According to the attorney general’s office, Paterson City Council President Alex Mendez (D) is facing additional charges in a 2020 election fraud case, after having previously been charged in June 2020 and February 2021,” the outlet reported.
“On Wednesday, Platkin announced that new charges have been brought against Mendez and his associates regarding mail-in ballot election fraud, which occurred during the 2020 election that was mostly conducted by mail,” the report continued.
“Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim, who was a candidate for Plainfield mayor in 2021, has been charged with directing his associates to fill out blank voter registration applications and bringing nearly 1,000 of them to a post office,” the report added.
Prior to a May 2020 election in which Mendez was running for a city council seat, prosecutors allege he collected several mail-in ballots from various households over several days in violation of state law. Though New Jersey permits a “bearer” to return a completed ballot from a voter, candidates themselves are not allowed to do the collecting in the district they are running in.
According to Platkin’s office, Mendez’s campaign allegedly gathered ballots that voters had not yet sealed and checked them over at his campaign headquarters to see if they were votes for him.
Ballots that had not been cast for Mendez were then destroyed and replaced by a ballot with his name on it. Prosecutors allege that the replacement ballots were stolen from the mailboxes of voters.
Just the News adds:
One of Mendez’s associates allegedly took ballots from mailboxes in areas that were known to have many supporters of Mendez’s opponent, the attorney general’s office said. Also, if voters turned over ballots that were incomplete, Mendez’s campaign workers would allegedly complete them.
About a week before the May 2020 election, Mendez allegedly observed someone empty a large bag filled with ballots into a mailbox in the neighboring municipality of Haledon, according to Platkin’s office. Approximately a week later, Mendez’s campaign attorney sent a letter to the Passaic County Board of Elections to urge them to count the ballots from Haledon, despite allegedly knowing that they had been illegally obtained and submitted to the county.
After the February 2021 indictment of Mendez, he and others allegedly said they would try to contact witnesses who were planning to testify against him and provide them with new statements that would help his defense, prosecutors say.
Mendez has been charged with conspiracy to commit election fraud, mail-in ballot fraud, unauthorized possession of mail-in ballots, public record tampering, forgery, soliciting or obtaining or assisting in unlawful voter registration, and other election law violations. He’s also been charged with conspiracy to commit witness tampering, falsifying or tampering with election records, and conspiracy/tampering with or fabricating evidence.
Ibezim “has been charged with election fraud and other crimes after allegedly bringing a trash bag stuffed with” 954 fake “voter registration applications to the post office to mail them to the Union County Commissioner of Registration,” according to the attorney general’s office.
“This is unfair. They rushed to charge me four years ago, and when they knew those charges weren’t working and were going nowhere, they charge me with something else,” Mendez said last week, according to NorthJersey.com.
“I’m looking forward to my day in court,” he added. “I’m fighting this to the end.”
Thomas Eicher, the executive director of the attorney general’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, responded: “We allege that Mendez and his associates unlawfully collected ballots and tampered with ballots to give him an unfair edge in the race for the 3rd Ward seat on the Paterson City Council. He then allegedly set about undermining our investigation into his and his campaign workers’ unlawful activities.”