Lenz' Voter Fraud Case Dismissed in Hudson Superior Court
The Fourth Ward candidate had accused the campaign of his rival of paying residents to vote.
The voter fraud law suit that was filed by the Lenz for Council campaign Thursday afternoon and alleged that Fourth Ward Council candidate Tim Occhipinti paid people for votes, was denied by a Hudson County Superior Court judge on Friday afternoon.
Representatives for both parties—Mike Goldberg for Occhipinti and Tim Howes for Lenz—appeared before Judge Maurice Gallipoli in Hudson County Superior Court at 2 p.m.
The matter has been referred to the superintendent of elections, but for now the ballots should not be disregarded, said Gallipoli.
On Saturday morning at 8 and 10 a.m. the Board of Elections will canvass the ballots, at which point the Lenz campaign can challenge individual votes.
"It's being taken seriously," said Howes.
On Thursday, the Lenz campaign submitted a complaint, accusing the Occchipinti campaign of voter fraud. Anecdotal evidence and four signed affidavits that were submitted with the complaint alleged that voters were given $40 by Occhipinti campaign workers.
Howes said he could not predict how many ballots would be challenged by the Lenz campaign. On Thursday, Lenz campaign manager Sam Briggs said the four affidavits cast a "cloud of doubt" on all vote-by-mail ballots that have been sent in, especially the 78 out of 79 that have been submitted by Occhipinti campaign volunteers.
"There's absolutely no truth to it," said Occhipinti Campaign spokesman on Thursday after being served the papers.
Goldberg, volunteer legal counsel for the Occhipinti campaign, called the challenge "premature."
He added that he is prepared for any challenges from the Lenz campaign.
"I believe those affidavits won't carry the day," Goldberg said.