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Samuel D. Thompson. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Harsher penalties for voter fraud, Thompson says

By Nikita Biryukov, May 07 2019 5:15 pm

State Sen. Thompson called for the legislature to advance his bill raising penalties for voter fraud after U.S. Attorneys announced a fifth arrest in a vote-by-mail scheme Tuesday.

“This most recent conviction represents yet another example of the intentional abuse of our vote-by-mail system,” Thompson said. “Our elections and our very democracy will continue to be undermined until we implement better safeguards and deterrents, including stronger penalties like those I have proposed, to combat this type of voter fraud.”

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Matthew Calicchio pleaded guilty to encouraging voter bribery in Hoboken’s 2013 and 2015 municipal elections.

Calicchio and others are said to have paid certain Hoboken voters $50 to apply for and cast vote-by-mail ballots.

In some cases, Carpenito said, members of Hoboken developer and then council candidate Frank Raia’s campaign instructed residents to vote in favor of a rent-control ballot initiative Raia supported.

Raia was indicted for his role in the scheme in October, the same month Thompson introduced the harsher penalties bill.

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