Fresh election fraud charges have been brought against two New Jersey Democrats, related to voter registration and mail-in ballots, according to a report on Saturday.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office revealed that these individuals are now facing state election fraud charges linked to incidents that occurred in 2020 and 2021. These charges involve elections in two separate cities, with one of the cases having been under investigation for over three years.
“According to the attorney general’s office, Paterson City Council President Alex Mendez (D) is facing additional charges in a 2020 election fraud case, after having previously been charged in June 2020 and February 2021,” the outlet reported.
“On Wednesday, Platkin announced that new charges have been brought against Mendez and his associates regarding mail-in ballot election fraud, which occurred during the 2020 election that was mostly conducted by mail,” the report continued.
“Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim, who was a candidate for Plainfield mayor in 2021, has been charged with directing his associates to fill out blank voter registration applications and bringing nearly 1,000 of them to a post office,” the report added.
Before the May 2020 election, in which Mendez was a candidate for a city council seat, it is alleged that he collected multiple mail-in ballots from different households over several days, which was a violation of state law. While New Jersey permits a “bearer” to return a completed ballot for a voter, candidates are prohibited from collecting such ballots in the district where they are running.
According to Platkin’s office, Mendez’s campaign purportedly collected unsealed ballots and inspected them at his campaign headquarters to determine if they were votes for him. If the ballots were not cast for Mendez, they were allegedly destroyed and replaced with a ballot bearing his name. Prosecutors claim that the replacement ballots were taken from voters’ mailboxes without permission.
Just the News adds:
One of Mendez’s associates allegedly took ballots from mailboxes in areas that were known to have many supporters of Mendez’s opponent, the attorney general’s office said. Also, if voters turned over ballots that were incomplete, Mendez’s campaign workers would allegedly complete them.
About a week before the May 2020 election, Mendez allegedly observed someone empty a large bag filled with ballots into a mailbox in the neighboring municipality of Haledon, according to Platkin’s office. Approximately a week later, Mendez’s campaign attorney sent a letter to the Passaic County Board of Elections to urge them to count the ballots from Haledon, despite allegedly knowing that they had been illegally obtained and submitted to the county.
Following Mendez’s indictment in February 2021, he and his associates allegedly discussed plans to reach out to witnesses who were expected to testify against him. They purportedly aimed to provide these witnesses with new statements that would support his defense, according to prosecutors.
Mendez is facing a range of charges, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, mail-in ballot fraud, unauthorized possession of mail-in ballots, public record tampering, forgery, solicitation or assistance in unlawful voter registration, and various other violations of election laws. He has also been charged with conspiracy to commit witness tampering, falsification or tampering with election records, and conspiracy or tampering with the fabrication of evidence.
Ibezim “has been charged with election fraud and other crimes after allegedly bringing a trash bag stuffed with” 954 fake “voter registration applications to the post office to mail them to the Union County Commissioner of Registration,” according to the attorney general’s office.
“This is unfair. They rushed to charge me four years ago, and when they knew those charges weren’t working and were going nowhere, they charge me with something else,” Mendez said last week, according to NorthJersey.com.
“I’m looking forward to my day in court,” he added. “I’m fighting this to the end.”