A New Jersey judge ordered a new election for a Paterson City Council seat, which was initially believed to be won by a candidate who has since been charged with voter fraud. State Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela issued his ruling on Wednesday.
Alex Mendez appeared to have won the May 12 special election, but then the U.S. Postal Service's law enforcement arm informed the state attorney general's office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson.
The Passaic County Board of Elections decided not to count 800 ballots cast in the race. An additional 2,300 ballots were disqualified after the signatures didn't match those on file. Of the total votes cast, 19% were rejected. Mendez won the election by fewer than 250 votes.
Mendez, who thought he had won the election, was hit with six criminal charges, including election fraud and falsifying records. Paterson Council Vice President Michael Jackson, Abu Rayzen of Prospect Park and Shelim Khalique of Wayne, were also charged with voter fraud. All four defendants have denied the charges, according to The Hill.