Atlantic City MLK vote sign

Republicans question mail-in ballots in the A.C. mayoral vote.

The Atlantic County Republican Committee is asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate possible voter fraud during the November election.

In a letter dated Nov. 21, Keith A. Davis, chairman of the Atlantic County Republican Committee, asked Sessions to review their concerns.

During the Atlantic City mayor’s campaign, Mayor Don Guardian, a Republican, claimed the race was being hijacked by a plan to pay homeless people for votes, illegal use of mail-in ballots and the intimidation of others into voting for his Democratic opponent, Councilman Frank Gilliam.

“We have repeatedly asked our New Jersey Attorney General’s Office on successive occasions to investigate these practices, and it has refused,” according to the letter. “That is why we are reaching out to your office for help to restore integrity in our voting system in Atlantic County.”

Davis writes in the letter that possible fraud also could have impacted the Pleasantville Board of Education race.

“A few political activists have used the practice of messenger ballots to control hundreds of votes for particular candidates,” according to the letter. “These practices have taken place over the last 15 years with no law enforcement investigations.”

Gilliam defeated Guardian at the polls Nov. 7 before the mail-in ballots were added to the totals, so the issue of those votes became a moot point. Prior to the election, Guardian’s campaign hired private detectives, requested investigations and took legal action in attempts to get permission to challenge the ballots before they were counted.

Mike Suleiman, chairman of the Atlantic County Democratic Committee, called the claims “sour grapes.”

“When Republicans win in Atlantic County, it’s because they’re God’s gift to politics,” Suleiman said. “When they lose, it’s because of voter fraud. Ridiculous.”

The Atlantic County GOP previously asked the state attorney general to investigate similar concerns.

The state said in an Oct. 12 letter it had received the letter and reviewed the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office’s handling of mail-in ballots and found officials there had proper procedures in place.

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Contact: 609-272-7046 Twitter @acpresshuba

Started working in newsrooms when I was 17 years old. Spent 15 years working for Gannett New Jersey before coming to The Press of Atlantic City in April 2015.

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