Judge Invalidates NJ City Council Election Over Fraud Claims, Orders New Election

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A judge just invalidated an election and ordered a do-over in New Jersey after an election for a city council seat in Paterson, New Jersey, was tainted by fraud.

State Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela issued the ruling, according to CNN. “It was the right ruling. That past election was fraught with fraud,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

“The City will comply with the judge’s decision and we created the Mayor’s Election Awareness Team to preserve the value of the vote in Paterson,” he noted.

“All parties agreed to the new election and frankly, we welcome it. Obviously, we would have liked to just take the seat because we won, in our view fair and square, but November 3 will be a high level of participation and we are very confident we will be triumphant in the end,” said Gregg Paster, attorney for Alex Mendez, who won the earlier election by 240 votes.

From CNN:

A New Jersey judge invalidated a city council election and ordered a new one after allegations of voter fraud, according to a ruling issued Wednesday.

The May 12 election for Paterson’s Third Ward city council was “rife with mail in vote procedural violations,” Judge Ernest Caposela said in his ruling, though he left the decision on whether there was voter fraud to the criminal courts.

President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans have grasped onto the election problems in Paterson as they argue against a plan from New Jersey’s Democratic governor to have universal vote-by-mail. They say the fraud in the city race forebodes fraud in November.

Paterson’s mayor heralded the ruling.

“It was the right ruling. That past election was fraught with fraud,” Mayor Andre Sayegh told CNN. “The City will comply with the judge’s decision and we created the Mayor’s Election Awareness Team to preserve the value of the vote in Paterson.”

A Paterson councilman and the councilman-elect were among four people charged with criminal conduct involving mail-in ballots during the election, New Jersey’s Attorney General announced in late June.

Scott Salmon, attorney for incumbent Councilman William McKoy in the case, told CNN his client was “thrilled” by the ruling.

“That’s the cost of democracy. We’d rather get it right, do it twice, than not get it right,” Salmon said.

The attorney for the councilman-elect agreed.

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