The New Jersey Democratic State Committee is filing a formal objection with the Secretary of State’s Office against gubernatorial candidate Lisa McCormick after the party discovered what it calls “credible instances of possible fraud” in her campaign’s nominating petitions. An investigation by state party officials shows that numerous voters who are claimed to have signed Ms. McCormick’s petition did not in fact sign them, did not authorize their names to be used, and most importantly did not even know that their names or electronic signatures were being utilized by Ms. McCormick’s campaign — in fact, in one instance a voter who died in January is listed as having signed McCormick’s petition. The party sent the attached letter to the State Division of Elections today lodging its objection and calling for a law enforcement investigation. The NJDSC expects to have the matter heard by an administrative law judge within the coming days.
“Protecting the sanctity of our electoral process is the NJDSC’s priority and we are concerned about what we observed with this filing,” said NJDSC Executive Director Saily Avelenda. “The actions of the McCormick campaign are deeply disturbing, should disqualify her from appearing on the primary ballot, and should be referred to law enforcement.”
NJDSC’s preliminary investigation shows that Ms. McCormick appears to have used mail-merge software to create the petition filing and did not submit even one independent electronic signature verification as most other candidates have done. In addition, other anomalies were observed that cast doubt on the veracity of the overall filing. For example, out of 1,951 alleged signatures submitted, approximately 1,671 have last names that start with the letter A or B, a statistical anomaly at best. In addition, document metadata analyzed by NJDSC officials shows that the McCormick petitions were created at the same time and in the same Microsoft Word document. Finally, several voters were identified to have moved out of state or otherwise changed addresses months and even years prior.
State law makes it a crime of the third degree to “falsely” make or submit a fraudulent petition for nomination, and thus NJDSC is calling for the situation to be referred to law enforcement for further investigation.