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Nine Democrats seeking Payne's seat want McIver removed from the vote

Nine Democrats participating in the special Democratic primary for Congress in New Jersey's 10th District on July 16 have asked Secretary of State Tahesha Way to remove LaMonica McIver from the ballot.

“We believe that one of our colleagues, LaMonica McIver, submitted a fraudulent candidate petition to the Division of Elections,” the candidate group said. “In doing so, Ms. McIver committed fraud against the state of New Jersey and compromised the integrity of our election process.”

Administrative Law Judge Kim Belin ruled that McIver could remain on the ballot, rejecting another candidate's claim, Brittany Claybrooks, that the sole author of the nominating petition, McIver's mother Robin, could not possibly have collected 1,081 signatures herself in less than 1,081 years 3 days.

“To claim that a single mailing list collected 1,081 signatures in less than three days is as credible as claiming that one person ran a 26-mile marathon in less than two hours,” Claybrooks said in a letter was also signed by Eugene Mazo and Derek Armstead. Darryl Godfrey, Shana Melius, John Flora, Alberta Cordon, Sheila Montague and Debra Salters. Only Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker did not.

The candidates were highly critical of Belin, claiming she “refused to hear any evidence of this fraud, which came as a shock to us last week.”

“We understand that this judge may have been uncomfortable diving into the political currents,” the candidates said. “But this is not about politics. This is about protecting New Jersey voters from fraud. Although election laws are often generous, they cannot be completely ignored.”

They added: “If a candidate does not meet the 200 signature threshold, she must be denied access to the ballot.” The same applies if a candidate's agent submits a demonstrably false affidavit to the state. “Robin McIver’s affidavit submitted to the Elections Division on May 6 is a sign of dishonesty.”

The final decision on whether to accept or reject Belin's sentence rests with Way, and she must do so by noon Monday.

“We do not take this matter lightly. The exact same ballot access rules apply to all New Jersey primary candidates. For the laws governing the petition process to have meaning, they must be consistently enforced. Nothing is more important to democracy than ensuring the integrity of our elections,” said the nine candidates running to replace the late Rep. Donald Payne Jr. “To show how seriously we take this matter, we are signing below and speaking with a unified voice on this issue.”

Anna Harden

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