Frank “Pupie” Raia, a former Hoboken mayoral and city council candidate, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday on charges that he paid voters $50 to cast vote-by-mail ballots for him in his 2013 city council campaign.
Dio Braxton, a Raia campaign worker, was also indicted.
The indictment alleges that Raia and Braxton provided voters with VBM applications and delivered them to the Hudson County Clerk. After voters received their ballots, the government alleges that Rai and Braxton went to the homes of those voters – sometimes to instruct them to vote for Raia and in support of a rent control referendum he backed – and then paid them $50.
Raia paid the voters through an entity hired by Raia’s PAC, the indictment alleges.
Councilman Michael DeFusco says that the charges against Raia demonstrate a strong reason to support a referendum on next week’s ballot that would restore runoff elections in Hoboken.
Councilman Mike DeFusco is releasing the following statement responding to misinformation from Mayor Ravi Bhalla which attempted to link the indictment of a local political figure to the city’s impending Referendum on Runoff Elections:
“This alleged vote buying scheme occurred in 2013, the first municipal election after the city stopped holding runoff elections, and it’s abundantly clear that eliminating runoffs from Hoboken elections encourages misconduct. The indictment is equally troubling because without runoff elections, it is far easier for illegal “paid for” votes to successfully impact an electorate divided into smaller voting blocs,” DeFusco said. “The indictment underscores the importance of the Referendum on the ballot Tuesday, which if passed will ensure that our City won’t be bought and sold, and rather will stand unified against entities looking to divide us for political gain.”raia.braxton.indictment_0