New Bill Would Up Penalties for Extreme Voter Fraud to Second-Degree Felony, Punishable by Up to 10 Years in Prison
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) today announced plans to introduce legislation to increase penalties for extreme cases of voter fraud, in light of reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a Hoboken woman with paying voters to submit vote by mail applications.
Sen. Sam Thompson will introduce legislation to up penalties for extreme voter fraud, in light of reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a Hoboken woman with paying voters to submit vote by mail applications. (©iStock)
“Voter fraud is real, it is happening in New Jersey, and we have a duty to do everything in our power to protect the integrity of our electoral process. We will not stand by and allow slick political operatives to disenfranchise voters. Clearly, a stronger deterrent is necessary,” Senator Thompson said. “We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this threat to our democracy. We must ensure people who commit voter fraud receive a punishment that fits the crime.”
Senator Thompson’s new legislation, which will be formally introduced shortly, would 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 between 5 and 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
Senator Thompson has been one of the strongest advocates in the Legislature for increasing efforts to prevent voter fraud. In April, he spoke out against problematic legislation sponsored by New Jersey Democrats to create automatic voter registration systems that lacked proper oversight, and in February, he attempted to amend a related bill on the Senate floor to increase penalties for using mail-in ballots to commit voter fraud.
“Mail-in ballots have always been easy-pickings for people who commit voter fraud, and the recent changes to election law have only made it worse. Voters are more vulnerable now than ever before. Anyone who thinks that the Hudson County case is an anomaly is kidding themselves,” Senator Thompson added.
“We must take action to stop dirty campaigners from rigging our elections. If we are going to change the standards for registering to vote, then we have to do more to make sure that each ballot is actually worthy of being counted. I hope that Legislative leaders will seize this opportunity to safeguard our elections by passing my bill to increase penalties for extreme voter fraud as soon as possible.”
Related Facebook Post: