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Author Salman Rushdie in 2017. (Photo: Markus Wissman/Shutterstock).

Bergen County man who stabbed Rushdie voted only in 2016

Hadi Matar voted in Fairview in 2016 primary and general elections

By David Wildstein, August 14 2022 6:33 pm

Hadi T. Matar, the Fairview man charged with attempting to murder author Salmon Rushdie, is an infrequent voter in New Jersey elections. 

Records maintained by the New Jersey Division of Elections show that Matar registered to vote in November 2015, just one week after his 18th birthday.  He voted in the 2016 Democratic primary — Hillary Clinton won 61% against Bernie Sanders in Fairview that year — and general elections, but hasn’t voted since then.

Matar turned 18 the day before the 2015 election, which would have made him eligible to vote in races for State Assembly and Bergen County Freeholder had he registered earlier.  He has missed primary, general and school board elections since November 2016.

Records show that Matar had lived in Cudahy, California, a small town in southeastern Los Angeles County.  According to published reports, he had recently moved to New Jersey.  He did not register to vote in California.

Matar remains on the voter rolls as an active New Jersey voter, which means sample ballots mailed to his Fairview address since 2017 were not returned to election officials in Bergen County despite him missing two consecutive federal elections,

Under a ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael O’Neill earlier this year, the 24-year-old Matar would have been able to continue voting in New Jersey even while living in California, if he continued to identify Fairview as his home. 

Fairview is a strong Democratic municipality at the southern tip of Bergen County, bordering North Bergen in Hudson.  Joe Biden received 61% in 2020 and Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 5-1 margin. 

Matar was arrested on Friday after allegedly stabbing Rushdie in the neck, stomach, chest, thigh and eye.  He has been charged with second degree attempted murder.

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