Patterson, New Jersey, will hold new council race in November, after mail-in ballot fraud charges

Roughly 800 mail in ballots went uncounted

Updated: August 21, 2020 - 7:47am

A new election will be held in Patterson, New Jersey, for a city council seat, following the special election in May in which the apparent winner and a sitting council member were charged with vote fraud related to mail-in ballots.

State Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela issued a ruling Wednesday to have a new election, according to the Associated Press.

President Trump has cited the disputed race as a warning of what could happen in an election conducted mostly by mail, with the 2020 general election now about 75 days away. 

His re-election campaign sued New Jersey on Tuesday in a bid to stop the state's plans to conduct the November general election mostly by mail.

Alex Mendez had won a New Jersey special election on May 12 to fill the seat, but claims of voter fraud were soon raised. An investigation by the U.S. Postal Service found hundreds of mail-in ballots located in a mailbox in Paterson, along with more found in nearby Haledon, the wire service also reports.

As a result, Passaic County Board of Elections decided not to count 800 ballots cast in the race.

Voter fraud charges have been filed against Mendez, Paterson Council Vice President Michael Jackson and two other men: Shelim Khalique, of Wayne, and Abu Rayzen, of Prospect Park. 

The four defendants have maintained their innocence.

An attorney for Councilman William McKoy, who had been defeated by Mendez, then successfully sought an injunction that barred Mendez from being sworn into office.