A fifth campaign worker in connection with state Sen. Teresa Ruiz’s (D-Newark) 2007 campaign has been indicted on charges related to messenger ballot fraud, according tothe state Attorney General’s Office.
Rocio Rivera, 49, of Lebanon Township, an employee of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, was charged in a state grand jury indictment with election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and forgery (4th degree), according to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni.
“We are continuing our investigation into allegations of fraud in the November 2007 general election in the 29th District,” said Attorney General Anne Milgram. “We will prosecute anyone found to have tampered with the election and disenfranchised voters.”
“This alleged voter fraud was brought to our office’s attention by the Essex County Superintendent of Elections,”added Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow. “Voting is a fundamental privilege that all American citizens have a right to exercise without any form of meddling. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will not tolerate any attempt to manipulate elections of any kind.”
According to a release from the AG’s Office, “Rivera allegedly solicited applications for messenger ballots from individuals not qualified to receive them and fraudulently designated herself as the authorized messenger or bearer. She allegedly obtained messenger ballots from the county board of elections, and submitted them to the board of elections as votes on behalf of voters who, in fact, never received or voted the ballots.”