New Bill Would Up Penalties for Extreme Voter Fraud to 2nd-Degree Felony, Punishable by Up to 10 Years in Prison
Just two days after Senator Sam Thompson introduced legislation to increase penalties for voter fraud, the U.S. Attorney General has announced that two more Hudson County residents, including a former Hoboken City Council candidate, were charged on Oct. 31, 2018 with conspiracy to promote a voter bribery scheme by mail.
Just 2 days after Sen. Sam Thompson introduced legislation to increase penalties for voter fraud, two more Hudson County residents were charged with conspiracy to promote a voter bribery scheme by mail. (©iStock)
“To all the naysayers who continue to claim that voter fraud isn’t happening in New Jersey, I implore you: open your eyes,” Senator Thompson (R-12) said. “I hate to say I told you so, but clearly, the current penalties are not strong enough to stop slimy political operatives from stealing votes. Just look at what’s happening in Hudson County. This is an affront to our democracy and it must be stopped.”
Senator Thompson’s bill, S-3184, would increase penalties for extreme cases of voter fraud to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The legislation was formally introduced on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.
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 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.
Thompson noted that mail in ballots have always been “ripe for voter fraud” and that the changes Democrats made earlier this year have only added another layer of confusion for overwhelmed government workers, and an unnecessary temptation for those who seek to influence upcoming elections.
“The next election is just days away. I wish that Legislative Democrats had listened to us when we urged them months ago to protect voters from being disenfranchised,” Senator Thompson said. “That being said, it is never too late to do the right thing. I hope that the Senate Majority will see the light and post my bill for a vote as soon as possible. Voter fraud is real. It’s time to enact a punishment that fits the crime.”
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