Early 4th Ward Absentees?
Torres already explained his reasonings, but here’s a quick follow up a reader had sent to Augie regarding his recent column in the paper.
“Dear Mr. Torres,
I am troubled by your October 10th Political Insider article concerning one of the two candidates in the Hoboken 4th ward re-election. This Jersey Journal article makes false statements regarding Dawn Zimmer’s votes.
I thought absentee votes were not opened until the November 6th election.
Why do you choose to report inaccuracies concerning Dawn Zimmer votes rather than verified ELEC reporting differences between Zimmer and Campos. That’s a better story.”
The reader wasn’t too happy with Torres’ response:
“Stay troubled. Always a pleasure.
Agustin Torres Responds
The Saturday edition of the Journal Political Insider column updates the firestorm following the Wednesday edition.
Here is what he wrote:
“This better be the last Hoboken “do-over” election for the 4th Ward council seat. This columnist is running out of bug-off spray.
In Wednesday’s column it was noted that there were 25 absentee ballots cast so far in the Hoboken “do-over” election for the 4th Ward council seat. Twenty-one of the absentees that were handed in came from the camp of Chris Campos. Four were mailed in and two each were for Campos rival Dawn Zimmer. Does it take a crystal ball to figure out for whom the majority of those votes were cast?”
Continue reading more after the jump:
“This is being noted again because the Hudson County Board of Elections started getting calls from a corner of Hoboken demanding to know why the votes were opened – they’re private, you know. They were never opened by county officials – no one knows the results, but savvy campaign watchers can make a pretty good educated guess.
Much of this back-and-forth political “discussion” in Hoboken is on the Internet, where name calling and jumping to conclusions are the staple of the political Jimmy Piersalls who hide behind phony names.
Some Hobokenites called here to discuss the issue a bit and it was enjoyable to banter back and forth. Their interest is real and several really have a good sense of humor and insight. We all got something out of it, but there were a few yahoos who acted like collection agencies demanding to know this columnist’s sources.
And what hurt more – I am not The Auditor, that’s the other guy.
One problem may have been an error in the column that was immediately corrected for the next day’s edition. There was a sentence that referred to the person who voted as a nonresident – and then gave the address of her building in Hoboken. The word should have been “noncitizen.” A Zimmer camp spokeswoman said that the individual in question is in fact a U.S. citizen and that there is nothing wrong with her vote.
Someone very close to the Zimmer campaign explained that they thought it was unfair to single out the one voter since the Campos challenge did not specifically target her and never became a legal issue in court. They said her identity was obviously leaked – obviously.
At the urging of some callers, this columnist and another reporter went to the 4th Ward to talk to those involved. Yesterday afternoon, we met with an amiable older couple, a husband and his wife, who is the daughter who filled out the absentee ballot for her mother.
In Spanish, the daughter explained that her mother is incapacitated with Alzheimer’s and could not communicate who she wanted to vote for, and that she filled out the ballot for her. She added that she has power of attorney to act on her mother’s behalf.
She also said that while her mother is a U.S. citizen, she is not.
To the layman, this poses a number of questions. Yet, there is support from several legal sources – other than those from both camps – who say that more than likely, the vote would be counted. They said that the law, including case law, has made it easy for many who would seem ineligible to have their votes – even by family members – counted. As examples, they noted that the homeless and some mentally disabled citizens have won the right to vote.
The daughter’s husband said angrily in Spanish, “All this trouble is because of that McCann. It makes you not want to vote.” He was referring to former Jersey City Mayor Gerry McCann whose hard-nosed style is annoying a few people.
Zimmer backers say that is the point of McCann’s attacks, charging that the former Jersey City mayor is trying to intimidate voters. They also point out that if anyone knows something about disabled people voting it is McCann, who was accused of getting votes from nursing homes. Ouch. Then again, their argument could mean that the votes he received were legit.
Other than the lively debates these issues spark, it should be noted that after the June primary, this 4th Ward election means very little on the countywide political stage.”
Dawn Zimmer’s campaign manager responds to the bogus article which appeared in the Journal:
“The accusations against the Zimmer campaign in this editorial are false. The information is based on allegations from Gerry McCann, a convicted felon who faces harassment charges from 4th Ward voters within the next several weeks for his investigative tactics. Absentee ballots are not opened until Nov.6, so until then it is impossible for anyone to know how any person has voted.”
A Hoboken411 reader is concerned about what the Journal said earlier about absentee ballots for the 4th Ward already being opened/counted before the November election. She wrote the NJ Attorney General’s office to inquire about this story.
I live in Hoboken and I’m very concerned about the potential for voter fraud. The city council election that took place in May of 2007, is still not over for one ward. They are holding the elections over this November. I’m sending this message both to your department and to a website where people are watching the election with diligence. What can the honest citizens of Hoboken do to protect our rights and our votes?
When are absentee ballots opened? Should the ballots for a November election be opened in October?
The Political Insider column in the Jersey Journal from 10/10/2007 had something interesting to say about the election in Ward 4. Writer Agustin Torres looks at the latest absentee ballots:
“The 4th Ward race in Hoboken has gotten off to a strange start. By the start of the week, 25 absentee ballots had been been cast and 21 of them were handed in by those supporting candidate Chris Campos.
The other four were mailed in, and county folk say that two are for Campos and two are for rival Dawn Zimmer. The problem is that one of the two for Zimmer is a vote from a woman who is a nonresident who lives at 400 First St. and was the center of a complaint filed by Campos that forced this “do-over” election.
It is hard to believe that the same alleged illegal activities are already being repeated in a contest that most everyone in the Mile Square City is convinced will be a fair and clean race – because no one would dare pull the same antics. Guess what.””