Home>Highlight>Bhalla calls on council incumbents to sign pledge not to hire workers on election day

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe.

Bhalla calls on council incumbents to sign pledge not to hire workers on election day

Mayor says pledge will prevent electoral fraud in Hoboken

By Nikita Biryukov, September 18 2019 9:54 am

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla attacked incumbent council members seeking re-election for their refusal to sign a pledge not to employ election workers on election day.

“As of last week’s deadline, no Council incumbents signed onto this good government pledge, which was very disappointing,” Bhalla said in a campaign email.

The pledge, which Bhalla’s five candidates — Migdalia Pagan Milano, Nora Martinez DeBenedetto, Lisa Sprengle, Phil Cohen and Cristin Cricco-Powell — signed onto, is a response to a vote-by-mail bribery scheme that has seen at least two campaign workers arrested since 2013.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the two individuals paid voters to apply for and submit mail-in ballots, though authorities said the campaign workers sometimes filled in and delivered the mail-in ballots themselves.

Bhalla also urged the incumbents to vote in favor of a resolution that would keep Hoboken’s troubled pay-to-play law in effect through the end of this year’s election.

A review conducted by outside counsel found Hoboken’s pay-to-play ordinance would likely be thrown out if challenged in court. Under the measure, political action committees are able to give only $500 to a candidate.

State law allows those groups to give up to $2,600 to a given individual.

“This is a very simple issue — the Council will either vote to uphold our laws or they will choose to ignore them for their own benefit,” Bhalla said.

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