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.