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Republican House candidate Rosemary Becchi.

Becchi campaign alleges irregularities in Essex County

Sherrill leads even without the 109,099 ballots cast there

By Nikita Biryukov, November 18 2020 10:12 am

This story was updated with comment from Sherill campaign Manager Elizabeth Davis at 12:16 p.m.

Republican House candidate Rosemary Becchi alleged “serious” misconduct related to the handling of ballots on and before election day in Essex County.

“I hope this report sheds light on the unfair and illegal voting practices that plagued this election” stated Rosemary Becchi. “Voters in New Jersey deserve to have their votes counted in a fair manner and the process in Essex County clearly needs to come under the microscope and be held accountable to make sure voters aren’t deprived of their voice in the election process.”

In a 17-page document sent to the U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito’s office Wednesday, unidentified Becchi poll challengers alleged poll workers violated state election law by not sealing ballot bags before transport, allowing voters whose names did not appear in poll books to vote and leaving ballot boxes unattended, among other things.

One challenger claimed several poll workers weren’t requesting voters show photo IDs when checking in. New Jersey does not require voters to present identification at the polls unless they presented no such identification when registering to vote.

Even if the Becchi campaign’s allegations shift votes in Essex County — there’s little indication they will — Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) would still win the election.

Sherrill leads her challenger by 28,209 votes, 227,074-198,865. The bulk of that margin comes from a 26,889-vote lead in Essex, but Sherrill’s 7,917-vote lead in Morris County would be enough to overcome Becchi’s advantages in the Passaic and Sussex County portions of the district.

Becchi leads by 3,712 in Sussex and by 2,885 in Passaic. That means Sherrill would still be ahead by 1,320 votes if all 109,099 ballots case in Essex were discounted.

The document does not say how many votes the campaign believes may have been affected by procedural breaches, nor is there anything to suggest the campaign’s complaints will in any way affect Sherrill’s victory. The incumbent’s campaign saw the challenger’s letter as little more than a political stunt.

“One of the first things kids learn in little leagues across the nation is to shake hands with your opponent, win or lose. It’s a basic lesson that Rosemary Becchi has yet to learn,” Sherrill campaign manager Elizabeth Davis said. “Unfortunately, this isn’t little league. It’s a federally elected office in our democracy. Ms. Becchi’s spurious allegations are a publicity stunt meant to erode faith in our democracy and attack our election system. It’s a blatant disregard for the people of this district who spoke and overwhelmingly decided they did not want Rosemary Becchi to represent them in Congress.”

Becchi has not conceded the race.

The Republican candidate’s allegations of wrongdoing are varied. One challenger posted at the Essex County Board of Elections raised alarms over poll workers being allowed to bring jackets and other personal belongings into the facility.

More than one complained they couldn’t properly observe ballot counting.

Others said ballots were transported in unsealed ballot bags in Nutley and West Caldwell. Becchi’s campaign raised similar complaints about procedures in Bloomfield and West Orange.

A number of the challengers complained about unfriendly treatment from poll workers and other election officials. Yet others said ballots were counted behind closed doors.

The version of the report provided to the New Jersey Globe does not identify any challengers by name, nor does it name many of the poll workers who allegedly violated ballot procedures, though it does name some municipal clerks and countywide election officials.

_No Names_ Essex County Documentation _Nov 18_
Essex County Photos _ Videos Updated Nov. 18
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