The commissioners of the Passaic County Board of Elections will resume counting tomorrow, with an extention of the total count extended to May 19th, per a judge’s orders.
Some context to the order.
The Passaic County Board of Elections today nullified over 800 vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots, after 300 of those ballots turned up in a Haledon mailbox, and 500 surfaced in several other locations in Paterson.
“They are being set aside,” said County Spokesman Keith Furlong.
“U.S. Postal authorities informed the Passaic County Board of Elections about bundled vote-by-mail ballots within their possession,” he added. These ballots have been delivered to the county and set aside. Board of Elections Commissioners will determine tomorrow whether these ballots will be counted. Any potential irregularities will be handed off to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”
The votes, according to the commissioners, will not count toward the elections until fully reviewed, and the fact stands clear at the end as to why those votes were bound together and concentrated in one or several places. According to a source close to the commissioners, who said law enforcement (including the FBI) has been in the city watching the VBM elections unfold, the suspicion is either that a third party intercepted the ballots between the clerk’s office sending them and the actual voters receiving them, filled them out, and sought to mail them; or someone harvested the ballots and then illegally – because the limit for a messenger is three ballots – conveyed them bound to the Haledon Post Office (and a few others) for delivery.
Ward Three Council candidate Alex Mendez is pushing back hard. Noting that his campaign is directly impacted by the commissioners’ decision, Mendez said he intends to fight for the inclusion of some 600 VBM ballots. “This is very clearly voter suppression,” said Mendez, who’s running in one of the city’s marquee competitive contests against incumbent Councilman Bill McKoy. The candidate said he plans to engage his lawyer and is mulling holding a press conference this evening, even as the deadline passed for voters to submit their vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots in the historic, all-vote-by-mail (VBM) election.