Now that the outcome of another election in Atlantic County has been overturned on the strength of questionable absentee ballots submitted by an organization with a history of abusing the system, Atlantic County Republican chairman Keith A. Davis today called on Assemblyman Jim Whelan to ?use his status as a member of the Legislature?s majority party to enact legislation to reform the entire process.?
Davis said that Whelan and Republican Assemblyman Frank Blee have introduced legislation to clamp down on the use of messenger applications for absentee ballots and ?in light of last week?s outcome, it is crucial that reforms be implemented to prevent another potentially fraudulent election in 2007.?
?I am personally disappointed and dismayed at the comments made by Assemblyman Whelan late last month that it would be difficult to win passage of the legislation because the absentee ballot abuse issue was unique to Atlantic County,? Davis said. ?Simply because other counties have not experienced problems similar to Atlantic County?s does not make our problem any less critical and in need of attention.?
?When he introduced the legislation earlier this year, Whelan conceded the messenger application system was an invitation to fraud, but his enthusiasm seems to have disappeared now that the system produced a Democrat party winner in the freeholder race,? Davis said. ?It seems Whelan is willing to accept electoral fraud as long as it benefits his party. Hiding behind a lame argument that he can?t win support for his legislation from members of his own party in the Legislature is a disservice to Atlantic County voters who are, in effect, being told they will have to live with fraud and the potential for crooked elections.?
Davis said that when Whelan sought election last year, he campaigned on a pledge that, as a Democrat, he could accomplish more for Atlantic County because he would be a member of the majority party.
?Now, he has a chance to deliver on that pledge,? Davis said. ?If he turns his back on this issue, he turns his back on the people of the county.?