A Cedar Grove police officer responded to a complaint late last night that councilman Harry Kumburis, who lost re-election by 33 votes, was ringing doorbells after 10 PM and targeting voters who had requested a vote-by-mail ballot but not yet returned it.
The polls had closed at 8 PM, and votes were counted within 30 minutes. Challenger Joe Maceri defeated Kumburis 796 to 763. There were 25 provisional votes cast at the polls yesterday.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s office has been notified of the issue, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A doorbell video obtained by the New Jersey Globe shows Kumburis ringing at the door of a Cedar Grove residence. An audio recording shows the councilman and another man. Kumburis appears to use his cell phone flashlight to look at some papers he was carrying.
Kumburis could not identify the other man.
“I don’t remember who I was with,” he said.
The man asked Kumburis whose door they were at.
“I don’t even know,” the councilman said. “I feel like calling the fucking guy. I can’t even tell you what the last name is.”
He later identified the last name, although he thought it was the first name.
The entire recording was about 30 seconds.
“It don’t look like they’re home,” Kumburis said. “Let’s get out of here.”
Kumburis told the Globe that he was going door to door at 10:22 PM “because it was a close race.”
“I asked an individual if they had returned their ballot or voted provisional,” Kumburis said. “I’d like to know why they weren’t completed.”
Asked if he thought it was odd to be ringing doorbells more than two hours after the polls closed, Kumburis said “I didn’t think so.”
Kumburis denied that he was seeking last minute votes after the polls had closed.
The individual who lives at the home where Kumburis rang the doorbell had requested a vote-by-mail ballot for yesterday’s non-partisan municipal election but did not return her ballot, according to records obtained by the Globe.
Vote-by-mail ballots are accepted by elections officials through Thursday, as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday.
“I’m not the most political guy,” he said. “I’m just a regular person.”
The voter, whose name is being withheld by the Globe, contacted police shortly after the incident.
Kumburis was identified by a police officer, according to a Cedar Grove police report.
VIDEO: Kumburis at voter’s door.