By Brenda Flanagan
“There is voter fraud,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
On Ask the Governor, Christie agreed with Donald Trump: people who are ineligible to vote cast ballots anyway. And not just in New Jersey.
“There’s voter fraud that happens all the time, in every state in this country. How you quantify it, I don’t know. But we know it’s there,” he said.
We asked Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin.
“I think that is an accusation that has no merit, that has no proof behind it,” he said. “Could there be individual fraud? Yes, there could be. Could there be organized voter fraud? Highly doubtful.”
“You have people that are registered that are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states — they’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion,” Trump said.
In an interview with ABC News, Trump cited a Pew study as proof of 3 to 5 million fraudulent votes — all of them cast against him in November. He says that’s why Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But the study’s author told ABC they found no evidence of voter fraud.
“Then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they want to write something that you want to hear, but not necessarily millions of people want to hear,” Trump said.
Despite that, Trump — in an executive order — wants to examine the problem of voter fraud.
“We’re going to protect the integrity of the ballot box and we’re going to defend the votes of the American citizens — so important,” Trump said.
Christie’s certain they’ll find fraud in New Jersey and quoted an old political joke about how the dead in Hudson County rise to vote again.
“Our beloved former Gov. Brendan Byrne, one of his favorite jokes is that when he dies, he made Ruthie promise that she’s going to bury him in Hudson County so that he can remain active in politics,” Christie said.
Two years ago, an NJTV News investigation found hundreds of dead people still on the voter rolls and records showed some had actually cast ballots. Those were referred to prosecutors for investigation. Durkin says that’s not widespread. But voters do end up registered in two states by accident because they forget to notify boards of election that they’ve moved. That’s not illegal.
“It’s illegal to vote in two different counties or states in the same election,” Durkin said.
Does he know of cases of people going to vote in two states? “I do not know of that,” he said.
Meanwhile on other topics, Christie welcomed Trump’s plan to repeal Obamacare funding for Medicaid and replace it with block grants.
“If what you’re really doing is giving the governors an opportunity to go and manage their Medicaid money in a way that they think is most responsible and without all of the federal restrictions, we’re going to have the opportunity to prioritize what we want to spend on here in New Jersey,” he said.
Finally when asked whether he’d endorse Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadango who’s running for Christie’s seat, Christie noted succinctly: “No.”
Guadagno has said she’d welcome Christie’s endorsement. The governor would only say she’d be a good governor. It promises to be a grueling campaign.