Justin Hurst, a candidate vying for the position of mayor in Springfield, is currently facing allegations of voter fraud, a mere five days prior to the impending election night.
The affidavits, which have been acquired by Western Mass News, are accounts provided by officials from the Springfield election department. These accounts outline the observations made by these officials throughout the recent early voting period at city hall.
The individuals provided an account of voters being transported to the polling stations and anticipating monetary compensation subsequent to casting their ballots in favor of Hurst.
Hurst categorically refuted the allegations of voter fraud made against his campaign and assured the residents of Springfield, prior to the upcoming election on Tuesday, that his campaign is being conducted with utmost integrity.
“Any accusations that my team paid residents in exchange for their vote is unequivocally false,” Hurst asserted.
On Thursday, Hurst refuted allegations suggesting that his campaign engaged in the exchange of money for votes during the early in-person voting period, which occurred in close proximity to the upcoming election night scheduled for next Tuesday.
According to the affidavits obtained by Western Mass News from the city solicitor, Springfield election officials presented a contrasting narrative. According to Gladys Oyola-Lopez, the Elections Commissioner of Springfield,
“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.”
The city surveillance video, which has been acquired by Western Mass News, depicts a black SUV that seemingly transports individuals to and from the polling stations. In her sworn statement, Oyola-Lopez made reference to the aforementioned matter and expressed the following, in partial excerpt:
“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.”
During the news conference held on Thursday, Hurst acknowledged having reviewed the security film and conceded that the individual depicted therein is a volunteer affiliated 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.”
In response to the allegations of voter fraud, Domenic Sarno, the incumbent Mayor of Springfield and Hurst’s political rival, issued a formal statement on Thursday.
“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.
Voting is a sacred trust and should be treated as such. The integrity of our elections must be protected.
This is a legal matter which has been reported to the proper authorities by Solicitor Judge Payne.”
In other disturbing election news, several New Jersey Democrats, including Patterson City Council President Alex Mendez and his spouse who also serves as his campaign manager, have been indicted on multiple counts of election fraud offenses related to the ward council races that took place in 2020.
According to a report from the Bergen County Record, Attorney General Matthew Platkin has made an announcement stating that state investigators have concluded that Mendez, aged 48, engaged in the unlawful collection of ballots and supervised the fraudulent mailing of those ballots.
Furthermore, it has been asserted by investigators that individuals associated with the Mendez campaign engaged in the unlawful act of pilfering ballots from private mailboxes, thereafter discarding any ballots that did not support their candidate.
Additionally, Yohanny Mendez, the councilman’s spouse, Omar Ledesma, his campaign manager, and Iris Rigo, a supporter, were all implicated in the aforementioned case.
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 present case originates from the electoral endeavors pursued by the Mendez campaign in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
As per the findings of the Platkin’s Office, a considerable number of mail-in votes, which were gathered by individuals associated with the Mendez campaign, were observed to lack proper sealing by the voters upon submission. The state further contends that subsequent to the transportation of the ballots to Mendez’s campaign headquarters, a scrutiny was conducted to ascertain whether they constituted votes in favor of Mendez.
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