One thing stood out to me when I was reading the Associated Press “fact check” of last night’s veep debate. It had to do with some comments from Mike Pence about irregularities with mail-in ballots. The AP was quick to claim that these are “snafus” that happen during every election and there should be “adequate time” to correct them before the voting ends. They also point to other analysts who say that such incidents “don’t indicate fraud, but human error.”
Someone should really send all of that valuable fact-checking information to the folks in New Jersey. Officials there have arrested one postal worker who turned out to be a human committing one heck of an “error.” He was found to have ditched nearly two thousand pieces of mail, including almost 100 ballots, into dumpsters along his route. This took place in a predominantly Democrat-rich area. And the Justice Department is taking this incident far more seriously than would be warranted by some sort of “snafu.” (Free Beacon)
A New Jersey postal worker was arrested Wednesday for dumping almost a hundred mail-in ballots into dumpsters in multiple towns.
The Justice Department charged Nicholas Beauchene, a 26-year-old mail carrier with “one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail” for discarding approximately 1,875 pieces of mail on his route. The discarded mail included “99 general election ballots” and was recovered from dumpsters in two different New Jersey townships.
Beauchene faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for delay of mail and six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for obstruction of mail. And with weeks left until Election Day, problems with mail-in ballots are flaring up in other parts of New Jersey and across the country, intensifying concerns about errors and fraud affecting results in November.
You’ll note that the carrier isn’t facing any charges related to voter fraud, but rather crimes involving delay and obstruction of the mail. Assuming he’s convicted, he could be spending quite a while behind bars and owe significant fines.
There’s probably an understandable temptation to say that this is yet another instance where voter fraud is taking place but not being recorded because of the nature of the charges. I’m not sure that’s the case, though. The real question here is whether Mr. Beauchene was specifically attempting to eliminate potential Democratic votes or if, like Cliff Claven on one episode of Cheers, he was just dumping some of the mail he was assigned to deliver so he could nip off to the pub for a cold one.
Further details, as reported by NBC News in New York don’t give us a definitive answer, but there are a couple of clues that suggest this was more of a Clavin-style situation.
I think the biggest clue to this mystery is the fact that Beauchene didn’t just dump a bunch of ballots. He trashed more than 1,800 pieces of mail, including standard, first-class and certified mail, along with a bunch of campaign mailers. That was on top of the 99 ballots which, when looked at as part of the total haul for the trashman, almost seem like an afterthought. If the disgraced postal worker had simply fished out the election ballots and trashed those while delivering the rest of the items, then we could definitely make that case for voter fraud. But this just looks like a case of a lazy postal worker who didn’t want to finish his rounds. I wonder how many other residents along his route have been missing out on mail deliveries over the past months and years.
That’s not to say that such things don’t happen, of course. As we learned back in August, one convicted perpetrator of massive voter fraud had recruited unscrupulous postal workers to sift out ballots in areas with a heavy GOP presence and either throw them out or turn them over for alteration. How much of that actually goes on remains unknown. But this case in New Jersey doesn’t sound like that sort of situation. It sounds like this guy just didn’t feel like doing his job that day and “delivered” a bunch of his mail to some dumpsters.