New Jersey's 12th Legislative District

Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson: Elmwood Park Case Proves We Need a Stronger Voter Fraud Deterrent

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Mayor’s Arrest Sheds Light on Urgent Need for Senator’s Bill to Up Penalties for Extreme Voter Fraud

Following news that Elmwood Park Mayor Frank Caramagna has been arrested and charged with election tampering, Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) said that this case serves as yet another example why New Jersey must immediately enact his bill to increase penalties for voter fraud. Caramagna resigned from his position on Sunday and was subsequently arrested on Monday. He won the 2017 election by a narrow margin, with vote-by-mail ballots giving him the edge to win.

Following news that the Mayor of Elmwood Park has been arrested and charged with election tampering, Sen. Sam Thompson said that this case serves as yet another example why New Jersey must immediately enact his bill to increase penalties for voter fraud. (SenateNJ.com)

“The Mayor of Elmwood Park has been charged with fraudulently filling in numerous vote-by-mail ballots to secure a narrow margin of victory on Election Day. It’s as if he walked right into the ballot box and pulled the lever as many times as it took for him win,” Senator Thompson said.

“Anyone who makes such a brazen attempt to undermine the will of the people of New Jersey deserves a punishment that fits the crime. How many more examples do Democrats need to pass my bill to increase penalties and safeguard our elections from voter fraud? Let’s get it done now.”

Senator Thompson has been one of the strongest advocates in the Legislature for protecting New Jersey’s elections. Last year, Thompson introduced legislation, S-3184, that would increase penalties for extreme cases of voter fraud to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

S-3184 aims to more appropriately penalize those who seek to steal votes, by creating a second degree offense of aggravated voter fraud, applicable to cases where a person exerts improper influence over the votes of others, by offering bribes, or other means. Those who are convicted of the second-degree felony could face a prison sentence and a $150,000 fine.

Senator Thompson emphasized that Mayor Caramagna’s arrest is not the first time New Jersey has had to combat cases of voter fraud. In October 2018, Hudson County residents were charged with conspiracy to promote a voter bribery scheme by mail by the U.S. Attorney General. In November 2018, a former Mercer County elections chief investigator was charged with election interference and fraudulent voting. There have also been numerous reports of deceased New Jerseyans receiving vote-by-mail ballots.

The senator also noted that his call for action on his legislation to combat voter fraud is especially timely, given that New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way is scheduled to testify today before the State Senate Budget Committee.

“The Mayor of Elmwood Park took the saying ‘vote early and often’ to the nth degree,” Thompson added. “Until we have stronger voter fraud deterrents on the books, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again. I also would like to echo Assemblywoman Schepisi’s call to investigate every case of election tampering in New Jersey. Voter fraud is real, it is happening in our communities, and it must be stopped before the next election.”

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