Election fraud is making headlines in three Democratic states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In Connecticut, the situation took a dramatic turn as allegations of fraud led to a court-ordered new primary election. Bridgeport Superior Court Judge William Clark decided to overturn the results of a Democratic mayoral primary due to claims of absentee ballot abuse. What prompted this decision? Well, it all began when a video surfaced online, seemingly showing a supporter of the incumbent Democrat Mayor Joe Ganim, stuffing stacks of papers into a ballot drop box.
Meanwhile, over in Massachusetts, a Democratic mayoral candidate is facing accusations of bribing residents to vote. City officials in Springfield claim they witnessed voters being brought to City Hall for early voting, with some expecting cash in return for voting for Democratic candidate Justin Hurst.
New Jersey has its share of election fraud cases as well. State Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office announced state election fraud charges related to mail-in ballots and voter registrations in the 2020 and 2021 elections. Paterson City Council President Alex Mendez (D) faces additional charges in a 2020 election fraud case. Allegations suggest that Mendez’s campaign collected unsealed ballots, inspected them to determine if they were cast for him, and replaced those that weren’t. These replacement ballots allegedly came from voters’ mailboxes, painting a concerning picture of voter manipulation.
Mendez’s response to the charges has been one of defense, claiming that the accusations are unjust and only brought because previous charges weren’t progressing as expected.
Another Democratic candidate in New Jersey and a former candidate for Plainfield mayor in 2021, Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim, found himself charged with “election fraud and other crimes.” According to the state’s Attorney General, Ibezim instructed his associates to complete blank voter registration applications and deliver nearly 1,000 of them to a post office.
Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim has been charged with several crimes related to election fraud. These include:
- Election fraud is a second-degree crime.
- Criminal attempt to commit false registration or transfer, a third-degree crime.
- Tampering with public records is a third-degree crime.
- Forgery is a third-degree crime.
- Hindering apprehension or prosecution, a third-degree crime.
- Falsifying or tampering with records is a fourth-degree crime.
These charges stem from an Office of Public Integrity and Accountability’s (OPIA) Corruption Bureau investigation. Ibezim allegedly directed associates and campaign volunteers to complete blank voter registration applications based on forms with voter information he provided to the group. He then allegedly brought a large white garbage bag filled with nearly 1,000 of these fake voter registration applications to the post office to mail to the Union County Commissioner of Registration.
The investigation into Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim’s alleged election fraud and other related crimes fits into the larger context of election fraud in New Jersey in several ways:
- The election fraud cases in New Jersey, including those involving mail-in voting, are relatively rare and often easy to detect. This is demonstrated by the fact that the Paterson scandal, which involved allegations of mail-in voting fraud, was not the norm but rather an exception.
- The investigation into Ibezim’s alleged crimes is part of a broader effort to uphold the integrity of the democratic process in New Jersey. The Attorney General’s office has proactively addressed these allegations, as seen in the case of Alex Mendez and other politicians.
- The allegations of election fraud in New Jersey have been a topic of national discussion, with President Donald Trump using the Paterson scandal to argue against mail-in voting. This has highlighted the importance of maintaining the integrity of the voting process.
- The election fraud cases in New Jersey, including those involving mail-in voting, have shown that even when such incidents occur, they are typically easy to detect and prosecute. This suggests that while the threat of election fraud exists, the safeguards in place to prevent it are effective.
- The allegations of election fraud in New Jersey have also highlighted the importance of voter registration and the process of voting. In the case of Ibezim, the alleged crime involved submitting voter registration applications for people who were not eligible to vote.
The incident involving absentee ballot abuse in Connecticut is an unusual case specific to Bridgeport, a working-class city known for its history of voting irregularities. This activity is often called “ballot harvesting,” where campaign workers or volunteers visit potential voters, encourage them to fill out absentee ballots, and then collect and submit them on their behalf. However, this kind of collection effort is banned in Connecticut, raising concerns about the integrity of the election process.
To provide some context, these election-related criminal cases aren’t isolated incidents. There have been at least three such cases nationwide, with two involving this year’s elections and two related to prior elections. As for the future, a new primary date is yet to be set in Connecticut. Judge Clark has given lawyers a 10-day window to work with city and state election officials to determine a potential date for the new election.
©2023. Amil Imani. All rights reserved.