A 16-page private investigator’s report, three hours of audio from a voter’s messenger ballot mission and four other voter experiences add up to concrete evidence of voter fraud, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said during a press conference Friday.
One woman claims when she got her ballot, she couldn’t vote for Guardian because only Democratic candidates were listed.
But just before Guardian arrived for the press conference outside the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office in Mays Landing, Craig Callaway — whom the allegations are against — denied any wrongdoing and called the press conference “the biggest sideshow in Atlantic City’s history.”
Callaway has said that Guardian is merely mad that his work isn’t backing the incumbent mayor — who he heralded four years ago. He even questioned Guardian’s sanity.
Meanwhile, the mayor stood by his allegations, saying he wants to make sure the voters of Atlantic City have their votes counted, instead of losing them to questionable tactics.
Guardian thanked residents who came forward with claims against how mail-in and messenger ballots are being used in the election. His team’s investigation into the alleged fraud included Lou DiJoseph, a retired New Jersey State Police lieutenant and private investigator, who conducted interviews and even wired one man who taped his interactions with Callaway and others as he worked as a messenger for a man he says he never met.
The investigation is ongoing, with one complaint taken just hours before the press conference.
In telephone interview taken at 10:44 a.m. Friday, according to a written summary, Atlantic City resident Charlotte Summers recalled being picked up from her home in Jeffree’s Towers by a white van and taken to vote in Mays Landing.
When she got in, the drivers of the van confirmed she was a registered voter, then gave her three ballots saying she would receive $30 for serving as messenger.
Once at the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office, she handed in the ballots “the man in the window,” and went to fill out her own ballot.
She wanted to vote for Guardian, running mate Stacey Kammerman and independent Tom Forkin, but only the Column A Democratic candidates were listed, she said.
“She addressed this issue to the man at the window who told her in response to ‘check off what’s there’ on the ballot she was given,” according to a written summary of her deposition. “Miss Summers said she had no choice but to check off the names in column A.”
It’s not clear what the next step will be, but Guardian said he doesn’t want an investigation to wait until after the election.
Challenger Frank Gilliam has said he does not deal with mail-in or messenger ballots at all, and has accused Guardian of trying to disenfranchise voters.
Rodney Cotton, who wore a wire when he went to work as a messenger for Callaway, confirmed at the press conference that he had no interaction with Gilliam.
Guardian also said he was disappointed with the review of ballots, including a debate over how to count the 2017 vote of a resident who died in 2015.
Hours after the press conference, Gilliam running mate Jeffree Fauntleroy II took to Facebook live, saying the claims are distractions sparked by desperation.
“You want your voices to be heard?” he asked in the since-deleted post. “Vote. When people have nothing else to stand on, they’ll present distractions to get you confused.”