Home>Local>Essex>Prosecutor probe of Cedar Grove VBM ballots ongoing

Cedar Grove Councilman Harry Kumburis

Prosecutor probe of Cedar Grove VBM ballots ongoing

Three months later, defeated councilman says he hasn’t been interviewed

By David Wildstein, August 19 2019 8:43 am

Click play for audio version of this story

The Essex County Prosecutor’s office is still investigating vote-by-mail ballots in Cedar Grove’s May non-partisan municipal election, but the defeated councilman caught on video ringing doorbells in search of mail-in ballots hours after the polls closed says he hasn’t been contacted by law enforcement.

Hours after Councilman Harry Kumburis lost his seat by just 27 votes, the New Jersey Globe obtained a Ring.com doorbell video showing Kumburis still seeking vote-by-mail ballots.

A customer service manager at the Newark Main Post Office, which operates 24 hours-a-day, alleged in a letter to election board officials that a man approached a U.S. Postal Police officer at approximately 10 PM on Election Day requesting a postmark on the ballots.

Essex County election officials referred the matter to federal and state law enforcement officials.

“We contacted the Essex County Board of Elections and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office,” county records custodian Valentina Smoot Palchetti said in response to an OPRA request filed by the Globe.  “The matter referenced in your request is still under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office.  The investigation is open and ongoing.”

Kumburis says he doesn’t know anything about a probe of the May 14 election.

“I’ve never been contacted by anybody, Kumburis told the Globe.  “I don’t know anybody who talked to anybody.”

It’s been three months since the election.

“I don’t know how they can say they’re still investigating.  I don’t know what that means,” said Kumburis.  “Maybe they don’t do their work.”

“There has never been anything done wrong,” maintained Kumburis, who left office on July 1.

The man who delivered the ballots has not been identified.

Those ballots received a postmark showing they were mailed on Election Day, but were invalidated because they did not include a bearer signature that is used to establish a chain of custody in the process.

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