Voting Day Violations 11/5/13
by Jim Gerrish
For much of the morning and into the early
afternoon, election violations were occurring at the St. Paul
A.M.E. Church on Old Sanford Street, my polling place. I went
there to vote earlier in the morning and reported the same two
Lester Taylor/Ted Green Campaign Workers that you see in the
photographs below, only at that time, I did not have my camera
with me. I looked at the man in the brown jacket and he showed me
his Lester Taylor/Ted Green Campaign material and offered it to
me while I was standing at the entrance to the polling place. I
informed him that he should not be standing directly in front of
the entrance to the polling place, and he replied that he only
had to be 10 feet away from it. He was speaking of the actual
door into the building, but in order to get to the door, you have
to go down an alley on the side of the church, so the actual
entrance to the polling place is on the street- there is no other
way to get to the door. At the same time, the woman in the blue
jacket was sitting on the front steps of the church's main
entrance, but she got up from time to time to hand out the
campaign literature she was holding, and the steps were well
within the 100 foot distance required by law.
I reported to someone inside the polling place
that the campaign workers were violating the NJ Elections Law and
were passing out campaign materials within 100 feet of the
entrance to the polling place. The election worker inside said
they were supposed to be down the street, and while I voted, she
went outside, supposedly to tell them to move away from the
entrance. When I finished voting and came back outside, the
election worker was smoking a cigarette and chatting with the
campaign workers who were still at the entrance to the polling
place, still passing out campaign literature for Lester Taylor,
one of the candidates for Mayor, and Ted Green, one of the
candidates for council.
I went home and reported the violations to the
office of the Essex County Clerk, Chris Durkin, and the person from his office with whom I spoke with
assured me that something would be done about it.
I had lunch and decided to go back to see if
the violation had been taken care of. This time I brought my
camera. Right away I could see the same two campaign workers
directly in front of the entrance to the polling place, still
passing out Lester Taylor/Ted Green campaign materials.
When I walked down to the
entrance, another campaign worker was putting campaign literature
on cars that were parked in front of the polling place.
I went inside the entrance to the
polling place and turned around to take this photo:
This was the man in the brown
jacket that had been passing out Lester Taylor/Ted Green campaign
material held in his right hand at his side. He is waving his
finger as he threatens me for reporting him and taking his photo.
I moved down to the polling place
door and turned around again. This time I saw the worker at the
entrance to the polling place glaring at me and still shouting
threats. The man in the white sweater I would meet again inside
the polling place.
I went inside the polling place
and found an elder of the church sitting at the door. I reported
to him that the campaign workers were still at the entrance to
the polling place handing out campaign literature. At that time,
the man in the white sweater that I had photographed in the
entrance way to the polling place approached me and told me I had
no business being inside the polling place with a camera, even
though I took no photos inside. He identified himself as Alonzo
(I could not understand his last name, which began with an
"R") and showed me a badge identifying himself as a
Newark policeman. I asked him what a Newark policeman was doing
inside an East Orange polling place, but he had no answer.
He said he would call the East
Orange police to evict me, and I invited him to call the East
Orange police, but of course, he did not. I left.
When I left, the two campaign
workers were still directly in front of the entrance to the
polling place, and the Newark policeman was there with them. The
man in the brown jacket called me a "white" something
or other, under his breath, and did not dare repeat it out loud
when I called him on making a racist remark. The woman dressed in
the blue jacket shouted a death threat at me, but backed down
when I called her on it. The Newark policeman seemed to be
enjoying it all.
No East Orange police had been
called, so I assumed that they were not coming. The only thing
left for me to do is to present it to the voters of East Orange
on this Web site. I don't know if it will have any effect on the
election or not, but this is wrong, and the three people in the
above photo know it is wrong, but they acted in the confidence
that they could all get away with it.
Now that the election is over and
Lester Taylor is the new Part-Time
Mayor, I expect this will all be washed
over and covered up. But it is the purpose of a Museum to
remember history for those with short memories, or for the
generations who were not yet born when this history happened.
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