Home>Campaigns>Prosecutor ends probe of 2019 Cedar Grove VBM incident

Former Cedar Grove Councilman Harry Kumburis

Prosecutor ends probe of 2019 Cedar Grove VBM incident

No charges will be filed after ballots delivered to post office after polls closed

By David Wildstein, July 17 2020 2:11 pm

The Essex County Prosecutor’s office has completed their investigation of a May 2019 election night vote-by-mail incident in Cedar Grove and will not file any criminal charges, according to Kathy Barrett Carter, a spokesperson for acting Prosecutor Ted Stephens.

Law enforcement launched their probe after a  defeated councilman was caught on video ringing doorbells in search of mail-in ballots more than an hour after the polls closed.

Soon after Harry Kumburis lost his seat by just 27 votes, the New Jersey Globe obtained a Ring.com doorbell video showing he was still seeking vote-by-mail ballots.

The U.S. Postal Service confirmed that at least one man sought to deliver VBM ballots two hours after the polls closed, according to an email sent to Essex County Board of Elections Clerk Linda von Nessi obtained by the Globe through an Open Public Records Act request.

“The postal police officer on duty Tuesday 5/14/2019 at approximately 10:00 PM stated he was approached at the guard post by a man requesting a Postal mark date on 4 ballots,” said Bonita A. Terry, the customer service manager at the Newark Post Office, in an e-mail to von Nessi.  “The officer informed him the Post Office windows were closed but the pickup window #7 was open and he may be able to obtain a post mark at the window.  The man went to window #7 and received a post mark on the ballots.”

The man who delivered the ballots has not been identified and it is not known whether the four ballots were for Cedar Grove and not one of the other municipalities that held non-partisan municipal elections in May 2019.

Kumburis told the Globe that he was never interviewed by the prosecutor’s office.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Kumburis said.  “They weren’t investigating me; they were investigating the situation.”

Kumburis refused to rule out running in a November special election for an unexpired term on the township council.

Joseph Zichelli, a 23-year-old Seton Hall law student, was sworn in this week following the resignation of Robbie Vargo.  Zichelli is expected to see the remaining eight months of Vargo’s term in the fall.

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