Primary Electioneering Claims Unfounded, Millburn Police Say


MILLBURN, NJ - A week after the contested Democratic primary election that saw candidate Tara Prupis secure the party's nomination by 147 votes over challenger Corey Biller, accusations of electioneering and polling site violations still divide the town. The Millburn Police Department was called to two polling locations, the first at Casa Columbo and the second at Gero Park, to investigate possible violations of electioneer rules by candidate challengers from the Prupis campaign. 

In both cases, the official report from the Millburn Police Department found no violations at either location. The report states that the responding officers "met with the election board member in charge of the Casa Columbo polling site, Harriet Jermquist, who reported no issues at the polling station." On the second call, officers reported "no signs of electioneering" at the Gero Park polling location and further stated, "Poll workers also reported no issues."

Candidate Challengers, nominated by the candidate before the May 21 deadline, must abide by strict guidelines outlined by the Essex County Board of Elections. It is a criminal offense for a challenger to base a challenge on the following three reasons given by the Board of Elections: They think they know how the voter is going to vote, the race, or ethnic origin of the voter or where the voter lives in the town or county.

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Challenges can be made based on if the challenger believes the voter is not qualified to vote, is United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, a resident of the county for at least 30 days before the election and/or a registered voter. The district board can question the voter, but the challenger is prohibited from directly confronting a challenged voter.

Candidates on the ballot are automatically authorized challengers and do not require a permit. 

The New Jersey Voter's Bill of Rights defines 'Electioneering' as "a crime under State law to electioneer within 100 feet of the outside entrance of the polling place up to and including the polling room. There can be no campaign signs or material in this area and no one can campaign on behalf of any candidate or public question."

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