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Harrison renews request for federal monitoring of primary in Atlantic County

Harrison renews request for federal monitoring of primary in Atlantic County


Democratic congressional candidate Brigid Callahan Harrison has renewed a May 21 request for federal monitoring of the primary in Atlantic County, after the Board of Elections received two ballots signed by Atlantic City vote-by-mail organizer Craig Callaway.

“The potential for additional interference and manipulation of the electoral process by Craig Callaway in the July 7, 2020, primary election is clearly evident,” Harrison’s letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito says. “As previously addressed to your office and the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Craig Callaway and his organization of family members and others have repeatedly been at the center of election disputes involving paper ballots submitted by mail and messenger.”

Carpenito has not responded to the May request, Harrison said Friday. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Callaway is known for organizing large vote-by-mail efforts in support of certain Democratic candidates. He is being sued by Pleasantville school board candidate Doris Rowell, who alleges Callaway improperly got hundreds of mail-in votes for her opponents in the 2019 election.

He said this week he made a simple mistake. Callaway said he was acting as a messenger for Atlantic City resident Chris Perry, taking a duplicate ballot to him, and mistakenly voted and signed Perry’s ballot and put it into a pre-printed envelope with Perry’s name on it.

Callaway is supporting Harrison’s strongest opponent, Amy Kennedy, of Brigantine.

Harrison’s letter says Callaway’s recent actions make it clear he “continues to interfere with the right to vote.”

At its meeting last week to go over ballots that raised concerns, the Board of Elections sent the two ballots signed by Callaway to Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections Maureen Bugdon for investigation.

After realizing his mistake, Callaway said he voted his own ballot and sent it in the proper envelope with his name on it, which was also received by the Board of Elections.

Callaway said he called the County Clerk’s Office to report the mistake and picked up another duplicate ballot for Perry, which he delivered to him. Perry said he voted that ballot when interviewed this week.

A spokesman for the Clerk’s Office has said Callaway did not tell him he had mistakenly filled out and mailed someone else’s ballot, only that he needed a new envelope.

Assistant County Clerk Mike Sommers said he would not have issued another duplicate ballot if he knew Callaway had already mailed back the first one.

Contact: 609-272-7219

Twitter @MichelleBPost

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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