Absentee ballots an issue in Atlantic County freeholder race

Republican Atlantic County Freeholder candidate Joe McDevitt attacked his Democratic opponent, Joe Kelly, for not doing enough to put stricter controls on the use of absentee ballots, a hot button issue in Atlantic County.

Kelly, McDevitt said, last year abstained on a vote on a resolution calling on the Attorney General, the County Prosecutor and County Superintendent of elections to look into potential fraud by political boss Craig Callaway’s organizatoin involving absentee ballots in Atlantic City and Pleasantville. McDevitt further criticized Kelly for not attending a meeting in which the board voted on a resolution limiting to four the number of absentee ballots that one person can submit.

“It is well known and well documented that the messenger application system was utilized by the corrupt Craig Callaway organization to influence and reverse the outcomes of elections,” said McDevitt in a press release. “By refusing to vote on the two Freeholder resolutions, Kelly has created the suspicion that he feared antagonizing the Callaways and losing their support.”

Kelly said that he abstained from the first resolution because it was “grandstanding” – Republicans, he said, always brought up Callaway to score political points.

“It seems to me like it was political grandstanding and I really don’t go for that,” said Kelly.

At first Kelly thought that he did vote in favor of the second resolution, but upon hearing its date realized that he was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he goes every year for a motorcycle festival. Kelly said that he supports the idea of limiting the number of absentee ballots to four and would vote in favor of it if the resolution comes up again.

“I don’t know what else we can do. It’s up to the legislators,” said Kelly. "There’s a new superintendent on the county board of elections now, so maybe this year. We’ll see what happens.” Absentee ballots an issue in Atlantic County freeholder race