An Atlantic City Democrat and former city councilor has been arrested for allegedly overseeing a sprawling abuse of New Jersey absentee ballot laws while he consulted for politicians who sought him out for his magical ability to sway close elections through his organizational efforts.
Craig Callaway, 64, was arrested last week on charges of election fraud related to the misuse of absentee ballots. He will answer for “one count of depriving, defrauding, and attempting to deprive and defraud the residents of the state of New Jersey of a fair and impartially conducted election process by the fraudulent procurement, casting, and tabulation of ballots,” according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey.
“Holding free and fair elections is a bedrock principle of our democracy. As alleged in the complaint, the defendant attempted to deprive New Jersey residents of a fair election by fraudulently procuring and casting ballots. Today’s charges reflect our office’s commitment to hold to account those who try to undermine the electoral process,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
“Voter fraud at any level chips away at the faith people have in our system,” FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “We’re unable as American citizens to hold our government accountable if our votes are compromised. The FBI and our law enforcement partners understand the gravity of protecting the process and will bring those criminals who break the law to justice.”
According to prosecutors, Callaway was nabbed after paying organizers between $30 and $50 to act as intermediaries assisting voters with completing their absentee ballot applications. The individuals would show up at municipal election offices to fill out forms attesting they had each voter’s permission to help that person cast his or her vote. After being given blank absentee ballots, those individuals allegedly turned them over to Callaway and his deputies.
Voters who were affected told investigators that they did not vote in the 2022 election where fraud occurred and added that they never authorized Callaway or anyone else to help them vote. Many of their mail-in votes were counted in those elections.
Callaway faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any judge is likely to hold against him that he has already served 40 months in prison for accepting bribes while serving as an Atlantic City councilor. While waiting on his trial for those charges, the AP adds, he orchestrated a prostitution bribery scheme against a fellow city councilor.
In 2006, prostitutes hired by Callaway enticed fellow Councilman Eugene Robinson to join them in a motel room rented by Callaway and filled with hidden cameras. Robinson, a Baptist minister, went to authorities after Callaway threatened to release video of the sex acts. Robinson maintained his innocence and said any money given to the women was for sodas.
Last December, an incoming Democratic city councilor in Lawrence, Massachusetts was charged with raiding voters’ mailboxes in search of blank mail-in ballots. The investigation into Fidelina Santiago was led by another Democrat, Secretary of State William Galvin, who said an investigation would be completed before she could be seated on the council in January 2024.
“We’re on it. The minute we heard about it today we took action. We’ve had a history of sending people to jail when they commit crimes. That’s what we’ll do here,” he said.