The leader of the Atlantic City Democratic organization accused election officials are sending investigators to the homes of voters requesting replacement ballots in largely minority areas.
“They get a knock on the door from the Gestapo at the Superintendent of Elections office, asking if that’s your signature,” said Craig Callaway, the former city council president. Adolph Eichmann is knocking on the door. They sent a white cop to scare the shit out of voters.”
Voters who didn’t receive their vote-by-mail ballots for the July 7 primary election can request a replacement ballot from the county clerk.
Callaway says that the U.S. Postal Service has botched the delivery of VBM ballots and some Atlantic City residents have completed affidavits for a second ballot so that they can cast their votes.
“No one has come to our rescue other than us,” he said. “We have this little opportunity to remedy that.”
The controversial Democratic leader says he no doesn’t trust the post office to handle ballots.
“We’re not putting it in the mail, we hand-deliver to the clerk’s office,” Callaway said. “They’re trying to put us in jail for doing what the Constitution says you can do.”
Callaway’s argues that new laws that placed strict limitations on who can handle ballots actually helped people vote.
“In prior elections, people could use the messenger to get a second ballot. They would sign an affidavit. That’s what I did,” Callaway told the New Jersey Globe. “I am the only messenger in Atlantic County.”
According to Callaway, he is following the law.
“I gave them three ballots,” he said. “There is nothing in the executive order to say there will be no messengers.”
Now he thinks he’s being targeted by election officials after political rivals have voiced apprehension over his campaign tactics. He provided the Globe with a video of an Atlantic County election investigator visiting the home of one of his supporters who was seeking a replacement ballot.
One congressional candidate he’s working against, Brigid Callahan Harrison, has asked the U.S. Attorney to send election monitors to Atlantic City.
Callaway is backing one of Harrison’s opponents, Amy Kennedy, for the Democratic House nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd district. He’s also backing Pamela Thomas-Fields for mayor in the Democratic primary against incumbent Marty Small.
Among Callaway’s concerns: he thinks Black voters who live in areas where his political organization wins elections are being mistreated just because they have requested a replacement ballot.
“Why are you sending the Gestapo to the voters?” he asked. Duh, I didn’t get the first one. Now the S.S. is coming to your house asking, ‘is this your signature?’”
Harrison alleges that Callaway and his organization have been at the center of election disputes involving paper ballots submitted by mail and messenger.
He sent federal prosecutors an affidavit signed by Ernestor Echevarria alleging that the Callaway operation has been tampering with ballots for fifteen years.
Among Echevarria’s assertions is that Callaway had someone inside the Board of Elections to help him by providing blank ballots so that he could cast them for the candidate of his choice.
Callaway strongly denied Eschervarria’s claims.
“He is saying outrageous things about me that defy logic,” he said. “This guy has no credibility. The timeline is way off. These are crazy conspiracy theories.”
Callaway also smacked Gov. Phil Murphy’s role in ordering of a primary election conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots.
“He seemed to be out of touch with the improprieties of the U.S. Post Office,” said Callaway. Murphy is terrible. The post office is terrible.”
Callaway thinks that President Donald Trump is right about the post office, and called for Atlantic County to put future ballot deliveries out to bid so that companies like Amazon, DHL and UPS can compete.
“They would do a better job,” he said. “The deliver, no problem.”
He said that was a silver-lining of sorts from the lessons of the 2020 primary election.
“One good thing Murphy did was to show how screwed up the post office is. He’s making Donald Trump look right,” Callaway said. “Don’t vote by mail.”
Thsi story was updated on July 2 with additional comment from Callaway.