The Nov. 2 4th Ward election had approximately 450 vote-by-mail ballots, many of which were in favor of Councilman Tim Occhipinti, the winning candidate. The campaign of former Councilman Michael Lenz has alleged voter fraud.
Wednesday night, at a meeting, the Hudson County Board of Elections said they were forwarding 190 "suspicious" ballots to the county prosecutor's office. Then, on Friday, Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said the matter would be referred to the state Attorney General's Office.
“We have the materials from the Superintendent of Elections which has been reviewed,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio. “We intend to forward the matter to the Attorney General’s office for further review. And then where it goes from there, I cannot say at this point.”
In Hoboken's heated political climate, most 4th Ward elections have resulted in some sort of allegations of voter fraud, often from both sides. But they do not always go to a higher level.
Occhipinti has said he is ready to get to work.
“I have every confidence in the process and I’m concentrating on doing what I was elected to do, serve the people of the 4th Ward,” Occhipinti said in an e-mail statement on Thursday when asked about the investigation.
When asked why it was forwarded, DeFazio only would say that his office believes it is a matter that should be reviewed by the Attorney General’s office, but would not delve into specifics.
For more on the situation, read the story in this weekend's Hoboken Reporter.-- Ray Smith