Justin Hurst, a candidate for the mayorship of Springfield, is presently confronted with accusations of voter fraud, which surfaced only five days before the scheduled election night.
The affidavits, which Western Mass News has obtained, consist of testimonies provided by Springfield election department officials. The following narratives delineate the observations articulated by said officials during the recent period of early voting at the city hall.
The individuals who testified recounted instances in which Hurst supporters were conveyed to the polling stations in anticipation of receiving monetary compensation after casting their ballots.
Hurst unequivocally denied the accusations of voter fraud leveled against his campaign and provided Springfieldians with the assurance that his campaign is being run with the highest regard for integrity, prior to Tuesday’s election.
“Any accusations that my team paid residents in exchange for their vote is unequivocally false,” Hurst asserted.
Hurst denied allegations on Thursday that his campaign participated in the exchange of monetary compensation for votes during the early in-person voting period, which took place near the forthcoming election night on Tuesday.
The affidavits procured by Western Mass News from the city solicitor indicate that election officials in Springfield put forth an opposing account. As stated by Gladys Oyola-Lopez, the Springfield Elections Commissioner,
“As of Friday, October 27, we noticed a marked increase in the number of walk-in voters at city hall… Periodically, the voters that came in would discuss among themselves about receiving payment. They stated they must take the ‘I Voted’ sticker as proof they voted.”
Western Mass News has obtained city surveillance footage that portrays a black SUV ostensibly facilitating the movement of individuals to and from the polling stations. Partially excerpting her sworn statement, Oyola-Lopez mentioned the aforementioned subject and stated the following:
“We were able to ascertain from the video footage that many individuals who were dropped off the black Suburban and black Expedition entered city hall, voted and left in the same aforementioned vehicles. At one point in the footage, two women and one man can be seen showing the man in the red/white/blue shirt something. The man then takes out what appears to be a large bundle of cash and peel off a bill and hand it to each person.”
Hurst, during the Thursday news conference, admitted to having viewed the security footage and confirmed that the person portrayed therein is a volunteer associated with his campaign.
“That gentleman has volunteered on many campaigns. That particular gentleman has spent more time in prison than he spent out, but he is a good man and he?s the individuals I?m fighting for in the city of Springfield. We?re running an election that is inclusive,? Hurst explained,” Hurst declared.
Nevertheless, he reaffirmed, “We don?t give money in exchange for votes. I don?t know how much clearer I can be.”
Thursday, Domenic Sarno, the incumbent mayor of Springfield and Hurst’s political adversary, issued a formal statement in response to the allegations of voter fraud.
“Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola-Lopez on Saturday, October 28, reported suspicious activity during early voting to our office. We immediately referred her to City Solicitor Judge John Payne. These allegations are very serious and upsetting to me.
The act of voting is a sacred entrustment that demands reverence. Preserving the integrity of our elections is imperative.
Solicitor Judge Payne has duly informed the appropriate authorities regarding this legal issue.
A number of New Jersey Democrats, including the president of the Patterson City Council and his campaign manager-spouse, have been charged with multiple counts of election fraud in connection with the 2020 ward council elections. This development is further cause for concern.
As per a report in the Bergen County Record, Attorney General Matthew Platkin has issued a statement confirming the findings of state investigators who implicate 48-year-old Mendez in the unauthorized gathering of ballots and the oversight of the fraudulent mailing of said ballots.
Moreover, investigators have alleged that personnel affiliated with the Mendez campaign participated in the illicit activity of removing ballots from personal receptacles and subsequently tossing away any ballots that were in opposition to their candidate.
Furthermore, involved in the aforementioned case were Yohanny Mendez, the councilman’s spouse, Omar Ledesma, his campaign manager, and Iris Rigo, an advocate.
According to Platkin, “The defendants are accused of attempting to rig an election in their favor and to deprive the voters of Paterson of having their voices heard. The functioning of democracy relies on voters’ trust that their votes count and those votes determine the outcomes of elections.”
The current case stems from the political initiatives undertaken by the Mendez campaign during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Based on the conclusions reached by the Platkin’s Office, a significant proportion of mail-in ballots, collected by individuals affiliated with the Mendez campaign, were found to have been improperly sealed by the electors at the time of submission. Additionally, the state asserts that after the ballots were transported to Mendez’s campaign headquarters, they underwent a review process to determine whether they represented votes in support of Mendez.