An Essex County campaign worker was convicted today of absentee ballot fraud that occurred during the 2007 election of state Sen. Teresa Ruiz. John Fernandez, 61, of Belleville, was found guilty of election fraud following a two-week trial. The jury found Fernandez guilty of charges of conspiracy (2nd degree), election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and forgery (4th degree). The Mercer County jury found that Fernandez, who works for the Essex County Department of Economic Development, fraudulently tampered with documentation for absentee ballots in Ruiz’s Nov. 6, 2007 general election, submitting ballots on behalf of voters who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes.
Fernandez was charged in 2009 along with several other defendants, including Ruiz’s husband, Essex County Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez. As a result, Gonzalez agreed to forfeit his seat on the freeholder board and his job as an aide to a Newark city councilman, and he was admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Four other defendants previously pleaded guilty, and three, including Gonzalez, forfeited their public positions and were admitted by the court into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
In March 2010 Gianine Narvaez, 39, of Belleville, a former data processing technician for the Essex County Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent of Elections, pleaded guilty to third-degree charges of absentee ballot fraud and tampering with public records or information. She is awaiting sentencing. She forfeited her job and public pension, and she will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
Full Article: Essex man convicted of absentee ballot fraud | Politicker NJ.