Hoboken resident William Rojas, 68, was indicted on the charge of promoting a voter bribery scheme by use of the U.S. mail in 2015 according to a Jan. 11 press release from U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
During the 2015 election, six ward council seats and three Hoboken Board of Education seats were up for election.
Rojas is charged with violation of the federal Travel Act for causing the mails to be used in aid of voter bribery contrary to New Jersey state law, according to the release. He was scheduled to have his initial appearance Jan. 11 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
Under New Jersey law, registered voters are permitted to cast a ballot by mail rather than in person.
To receive a mail-in ballot, voters must complete and submit to their county clerk’s office an Application for Vote by Mail Ballot. After the application is processed by the county clerk’s office, voters receive a mail-in ballot.
According to the press release, from September 2015 through November 2015, Rojas allegedly agreed to pay certain Hoboken voters $50 if those voters applied for and cast mail-in ballots for the November 2015 Hoboken municipal election.
Rojas allegedly provided these voters with VBM Applications, allegedly told the voters that they would get paid $50 for casting mail-in ballots for the 2015 Hoboken municipal election, and then allegedly delivered the completed VBM applications to the Hudson County Clerk’s office.
After the mail-in ballots were delivered to the voters, Rojas allegedly went to the voters’ residences to collect the mail-in ballots and mailed the completed mail-in ballots to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.
After the election, Rojas allegedly delivered checks to these voters.
According to the release, bank records show that voters living in Hoboken allegedly received $50 checks from an entity associated with the campaign that employed Rojas.
Rojas faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This is the latest in a string of indictments for vote-by-mail schemes in Hoboken. The first three indictments occurred in September and October of 2018. They were against local political player Frank Raia and campaign workers Lizaida Camis and Dio Braxton for their alleged involvement in a vote by mail scheme during the 2013 election.
Raia and Braxton pleaded not guilty while Camis pleaded guilty to Count 2 of an indictment charging her with conspiracy to use the mail to promote a voter bribery scheme during the 2013 municipal election.