I have to write about how dismayed I am to see the Politicker NJ story “Essex Freeholder charged with ballot fraud in wife’s 2007 Senate campaign.” The release from the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office says:
Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that five more people, including a freeholder who is the husband of State Senator Teresa Ruiz, were indicted today for election fraud in connection with absentee ballots they collected and submitted as workers for Ruiz’s 2007 campaign for the New Jersey Senate in the 29th District. Five other campaign workers for Ruiz were charged in four prior indictments…
According to Director Gramiccioni, Gonzalez, Caceres, Kowalski, Fernandez and Cruz are charged with tampering with documentation for messenger ballots, which are absentee ballots intended for use by homebound voters. They are charged with fraudulently submitting such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007 general election. The charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Unit.
“We charge that these campaign workers fraudulently submitted absentee ballots on behalf of residents who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes,” said Attorney General Milgram. “Election fraud is a serious crime, particularly when voters are disenfranchised.”
It’s an article of faith in the national progressive blogs I read that there is little or no real election fraud, and while their belief that Republicans are out to suppress votes might well be correct as far as I know, New Jersey is proving to me that there is real fraud. This is the third case of Democrats cheating with absentee ballots in recent years that I remember: The Penns Grove primary, the Atlantic City primary, and now a general election.
The good news is that these (alleged) criminals were caught (and charges brought by a Democratic-appointed Attorney General), but it seems to me that this is worst kind of corruption and law-breaking there is. However imperfect our campaigns are, they provide the ultimate check on incompetence and corruption in our political class. Unfortunately, while these people were caught, I have to believe this is going on elsewhere. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is a trend.