TOMS RIVER, NJ – Most people who cast an election ballot each year may not know that the sanctity of their vote lies in the hands of powerful political party bosses. In Ocean County, the election board is run by Ocean County Democrat Party boss Wyatt Earp and Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman. Today, Governor Murphy was pressed about whether or not political bosses like Holman and Earp should resign their posts ahead of a mail-in ballot count that could give those political figures in progress election analysis and time to get out the vote, effective after the election day if numbers don’t look good.
Murphy said this year, ballots will begin being counted 10 days before Election Day, meaning the powerful chairs and their politically appointed partisan underlings, such a Beth McGuckin in Ocean County have room to cheat the vote. Don’t try it, Murphy said. Murphy compared the act of political bosses counting their own ballots 10 days ahead of an election to insider stock trading.
“I think the simple answer, although I haven’t given a whole lot of thought as to who should be allowed to be on board or not, is the penalties, just like insider trading, have been ratcheted up and are significant,” Murphy said. “And so you’re faced with a very significant penalty, which includes a very significant potential jail time. And so to me, it is like insider trading in that respect. You may have knowledge but if you trade on that knowledge and you’re convicted, you’ll go to jail and you’ll pay a big price. And so that’s the spirit.”
That’s of course if first, they get caught and second if the Attorney General’s Office would actually prosecute such election crimes this year.
Holman’s second in charge is Beth McGuckin, the ex-wife of Holman’s political underboss, Gregory P. McGuckin. The McGuckin family relies on millions of dollars annually in politically appointed pay to play contracts to ensure they maintain political power within the county. One freeholder seat is up for grabs and the majority of council members in Jackson Township, where McGuckin and Holman are both paid professional contractors.
“First of all, I’ve never heard anything on tallies before, either my election or any other one, so the answer is I don’t have any color on my personal history,” Murphy said about the ability to have political party bosses doing insider trading in the 10 days prior and days after the election deadline. “The point here was to allow us, with as a high degree of level of certainty as possible, to be able to certify all of our elections by November 20th, and that’s the rationale. So this allows folks to begin to count votes 10 days before actual Election Day, with that in mind.”
Murphy said he hopes nobody, not even connected party bosses would mess with the system.
“So you’re trying to balance, like a lot of things, we’re balancing public health with the sacred right to vote, which is why we’re giving that hybrid model, which we think worked well in the primary. Likewise here, you’re balancing being able to certify on the one hand, which we all want to do, but also ratchet up the penalties that one would have to pay even further so that no one screws around with the system,” he said.
Reminder to Governor Murphy, this is New Jersey…nothing like that could ever happen!