A bill introduced by State Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-Old Bridge) would increase penalties for voter fraud in New Jersey, like the scheme alleged by federal prosecutors this week in Hoboken, where a former city council candidate and others were charged with paying voters $50 to fill out vote-by-mail (VBM) applications and ballots.
Thompson’s bill proposes an increase in penalties in extreme voter fraud cases to a second-degree felony that could include up to a decade in prison.
“To all the naysayers who continue to claim that voter fraud isn’t happening in New Jersey, I implore you: open your eyes,” said Thompson. “I hate to say I told you so, but clearly, the current penalties are not strong enough to stop slimy political operatives from stealing votes. Just look at what’s happening in Hudson County. This is an affront to our democracy and it must be stopped.”
A former Middlesex County Republican Chairman who has watched New Jersey politics for decades, Thompson said that VBM ballots are “ripe for voter fraud and said the new law that mandated an automatic mailing of ballots to anyone who had voted by mail in 2016 has led to increased confusion and an unnecessary temptation for those who seek to influence upcoming elections.
“The next election is just days away. I wish that Legislative Democrats had listened to us when we urged them months ago to protect voters from being disenfranchised,” said Thompson. “That being said, it is never too late to do the right thing. I hope that the Senate Majority will see the light and post my bill for a vote as soon as possible. Voter fraud is real. It’s time to enact a punishment that fits the crime.”