Rosemary Becchi is not going quietly.
The Republican candidate in CD-11 has sent a 31-page report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleging, in layman’s terms, that the Nov. 3 election in Essex County was a mess.
“Becchi sheds light on belligerence of Essex County Board of Elections, unsupervised ballot counting, lack of transparency and unexplained changes of procedure on Election Night,” is how a press statement puts it.
The campaign’s goal is not to upend the election.
Some votes are still being counted, but Democrat Mikie Sherrill is almost 30,000 votes ahead of Becchi.
Instead, the apparent aim is to highlight and document shoddy election procedures in Essex, where Sherrill beat Becchi by about 26,000 votes.
A call to the Essex County Board of Elections, the main target of Becchi’s report, has not yet been returned.
The Becchi campaign submission strives to document what it calls “serious mismanagement and misconduct” surrounding how provisional ballots were handled by Essex officials. Improper handling of ballots is alleged to have occurred in a number of towns, including Bloomfield, Livingston, Nutley, Roseland and West Orange, in addition to the county’s election headquarters in Newark.
The report cites commentary from 11 unnamed challengers for the Becchi campaign in addition to photos and videos.
Alleged problems include election workers processing ballots while having personal belongings – purses, backpacks and coats – with them, ballots simply lying around on trays and county election officials rudely dismissing complaints of the Becchi campaign challengers.
On Election Day itself, the report quotes challengers as saying bags carrying ballots were unsealed and that they were sometimes taken to the relevant town hall instead of direct to the Elections Board in Newark. A poll worker in Nutley, in fact, is quoted as saying, “I don’t care what the law says, this is how we do it here.”‘
There are also allegations in the report of four people being allowed to vote who weren’t on the registration list and three people who voted in West Orange despite telling poll workers they lived in New York City.
“I hope this report sheds light on the unfair and illegal voting practices that plagued this election,” Becchi said.
With all this happening, it’s no surprise Becchi has not formally conceded the race.
A statement from the Sherrill Campaign:
“One of the first things kids learn in little leagues across the nation is to shake hands with your opponent, win or lose. It’s a basic lesson that Rosemary Becchi has yet to learn. Unfortunately, this isn’t little league. It’s a federally elected office in our democracy. Ms. Becchi’s spurious allegations are a publicity stunt meant to erode faith in our democracy and attack our election system. It’s a blatant disregard for the people of this district who spoke, and overwhelmingly decided they did not want Rosemary Becchi to represent them in Congress.”