MSV Exclusive: Whole lot of VBMs are MIA


UPDATEDNew figures from the Hudson County Board of Elections from today show 1157 Vote by Mail ballots returned of 1858 issued overall.

According to the official Hudson County Board of Elections Vote-by-Mail report, there’s a whole lot of potential votes outstanding and unaccounted for as of last Thursday.

An update will be available prior to the election tomorrow but as of the November 2nd date, the report showed less than one-thousand, only 919 of 1819 issued to voters had been returned. However, those numbers returned may see a substantial increase prior to the election.

A civil war conflict for the Vote-by-Mails in sections of the Hoboken Housing Authority and senior buildings has been whispered in recent weeks. The Old Guard camps rumored to be warring over them are the DeFusco and Romano campaigns.

Previously, MSV exclusively reported a flyer was found in one HHA building where residents were urged not to turn over their ballot to anyone “you didn’t know.”

While most Vote-by-Mail votes will be legitimate, there will be a percentage unreturned as well, typically in the 10-15% range. Those regular accounted votes are most often returned by the voter using the regular postal mail service.

NJ law changed the number of ballots that can be physically dropped off at the Hudson County Board of Elections at one time. A bearer is restricted from handling any more than three Vote-by-Mail ballots.

The indication on the flyer however to “not give your ballot to anyone you don’t know!” speaks to a different voting “culture.” There’s been an illicit practice in Hoboken of paying for votes using VBM ballots typically in the range of $35 to $50. MSV originally brought the issue into focus in 2010.

That reporting and the wider coverage that followed statewide brought Hoboken vote buying out of the shadows and to the attention of law enforcement.

This flyer was discovered in a HHA building and backs the Mike DeFusco campaign.

Talking Ed Note: In 2014, this editor testified for more than a day over contested VBMs thrown out by the Hudson County Board of Elections on the numerical problems on the high percentages of VBMs coming out of Hoboken in comparison to other Hudson County municipal elections.

In 2013, MSV exclusively reported the Department of Justice entered Hoboken concerned with the voting irregularities surrounding the vote and specifically related to Hoboken Vote by Mail. This election cycle is exactly four years later leading into another gubernatorial and Hoboken mayor’s race. The official federal law enforcement file is believed not closed.

Related: The 2014 VBM related story:

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