Just days after President Donald Trump pointed to a New Jersey election as an example of the type of fraud possible with universal mail-in voting, a judge has thrown out its results.
It appeared Alex Mendez had won a special election held in May to fill a Paterson City Council seat by a little over two hundred votes. However, claims of voter fraud soon followed.
“An investigation was then launched after the U.S. Postal Service’s law enforcement arm told the state attorney general’s office about hundreds of mail-in ballots located in a mailbox in Paterson, along with more found in nearby Haledon,” according to The Associated Press.
State prosecutors ultimately brought voter fraud charges against Mendez and three others.
On Wednesday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled a new election for the council seat must be held in November.
For the umpteenth time, he first had to explain he is not opposed to absentee voting, where the voter has to request a ballot and by doing so verifies his or her location and status as a living person.
This is in contrast to a system where ballots are automatically mailed to every registered voter on the rolls:
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 15, 2020
“Again, absentee voting is great. You request — I’m an absentee voter because I requested, I got, and then I sent in my vote. So that works out very well. That’s what we’ve had,” Trump said.
“But now they want to send in millions and millions of ballots. And you see what’s happening. They’re being lost, they’re being discarded. They’re finding them in piles. It’s going to be a catastrophe.”
The president cited the test runs of mass mail-in voting in New York and Virginia as other examples of the problematic consequences.
“Look at the catastrophe in New Jersey. And New Jersey had more than just Paterson,” Trump said. “Look at what’s going on in Virginia. Look at what’s happening with this mail-in voting. It’s a disgrace. Absentee is good; mail-in, universal is very, very bad. There’s no way they’re going to get it accurately. They’re off by 20 and 30 percent.”
NBC News reported that more one in five mail-in ballots were rejected in New York City during the state primary in June.
As a result of the confusion, the winners in two congressional races were not declared until six weeks later.
The New York Times published a story earlier this month headlined: “Why the Botched N.Y.C. Primary Has Become the November Nightmare.”
Trump expressed similar sentiments to his Saturday remarks in a June 28 tweet.
“Absentee Ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use them. Mail-In Voting, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history,” he tweeted. “Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!”
Absentee Ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use them. Mail-In Voting, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history. Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Despite Trump repeatedly making a distinction, the media still enjoys dinging him by conflating his opposition to mass mail-in voting with absentee voting.
The president has even gone so far as to say he does not oppose mail-in voting in states that have been doing it for years and have safeguards in place.
For example, here in Arizona (where approximately 80 percent vote by mail), I received a notification in the mail from the county asking me whether I would like my ballot mailed to me or I would like to vote in person, both for the primary and general elections.
I mailed in my response. A ballot wasn’t automatically sent to my address (as is happening in multiple states, including New Jersey), with elections officials having no idea whether I still lived there or was even still a resident of the state.
The president is right: Universal mail-in voting invites fraud and undermines the integrity of the election.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.