A campaign lawyer for Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small has accused Democratic leader Craig Callaway of illegally assisting voters at a polling location on Tuesday, but Callaway says that he’s allowed to provide help and did so with state and local election officials watching.
“Information obtained through eye-witness accounts and video evidence has confirmed that Craig Callaway is illegally assisting voters who are voting provisionally,” attorney Daniel Antonelli of Antonelli Kantor wrote in a letter to the state attorney general’s office and others. “The campaign has observed Callaway assisting voters by pointing out to voters who they should vote for.”
Callaway told the New Jersey Globe that he did help voters casting provisional ballots at the New Shiloh Baptist Church in the second ward.
“That’s true,” Callaway said. “I had every right to assistant. That’s not against the law. There’s no limit on how many people you can assist.”
Callaway said that his assistance was done in the clear view of a deputy attorney general and Atlantic County Superintendent of elections Maureen Bugdon.
The former Atlantic City Council President, who has been at the center of ballot controversies before, said that he was recorded as the assistor for every voter who asked for his help.
Antonelli also claims Callaway paid elderly voters to vote for longtime community activist Pamela Thomas-Fields, who was Callaway’s candidate for mayor.
“Further observations have been made that Callaway is seeking out elderly voters from the Altman Terrace Senior Apartments, located at 1000 Arctic Avenue and paying individuals to vote for his candidate for mayor,” the attorney said.
Callaway denied that.
“Not true,” he said “Not even close to being true.”
He said that he only paid campaign workers.
“I tell people, ‘I can’t pay you for your vote, but I can pay you for your time,’ and I do,” Callaway said. “They served as bearers and messengers, so I pay them, which is 100% legal.”
Callaway also pushed back on Antonelli’s reference to video evidence.
“You can’t take videos inside a polling place,” he said. “That’s illegal.”
Small defeated Thomas Fields in primaries held on July 7.
The letter was sent to Deputy Attorneys General Susan Scott and Beau Wilson, Division of Elections Director Bob Giles and Atlantic City Clerk Paula Geletei.
Brigid Harrison and Will Cunningham, who mounted an unsuccessful bids for the second congressional district’s Democratic nomination, called for election monitors to be deployed in the city in her own race, citing Callaway’s support for then-primary rival Amy Kennedy.Marty Small Antonelli letter
David Wildstein assisted with this story.