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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
November 10, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Office of Government Integrity
- Tracy M. Thompson, Acting Director


Roger Shatzkin or Paul Loriquet


Attorney General Peter C. Harvey Announces Indictment of
Atlantic City Councilman for Tampering with Absentee Ballots

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced the indictment of a city councilman on charges that he tampered with absentee ballot applications and hindered or prevented one citizen from voting in the June 7, 2005, primary election for mayor and city council in Atlantic City. The charges in the 11-count indictment were brought by the Office of Government Integrity in the Attorney General’s Office.

"The integrity of the ballot is paramount to our democracy, and we will prosecute those individuals who attempt to tamper with any citizen’s vote," said Attorney General Harvey. "We held a voter education forum in Atlantic City earlier this year to inform voters how to better protect their vote and to warn others not to manipulate absentee ballots. Some, apparently, did not get the message."

Tracy M. Thompson, Acting Director of the Office of Government Integrity (OGI), said that a State Grand Jury indictment charged Marty L. Small, 31, of Atlantic City, with 10 counts of tampering with public records, a third-degree crime, and one count of hindering or preventing voting, a fourth-degree crime. If convicted on all charges, Small could face up to 51.5 years in jail and fines up to $160,000. There is a presumption of non-incarceration for third- and fourth-degree crimes. Also if convicted, Small could forfeit his public position on the city council and his public employment with the Atlantic City public schools.

According to Thompson, the first 10 counts of the Grand Jury’s indictment charge that on or about June 1, 2005, Small falsely filed with the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office applications for absentee ballots for 10 different individuals as their "authorized messenger." According to the indictment, the 10 persons did not designate Small as an authorized messenger. Registered voters must file for absentee ballots in person themselves, or may designate an authorized messenger to pick up the ballot in their stead.

"We are committed to ensuring that no one in New Jersey is deprived of his or her vote or in any way has his or her vote misrepresented," said OGI Acting Director Thompson.

The 11th count of the Grand Jury indictment charges Small with hindering or preventing a voter, who is a resident of Atlantic City, from casting a legal vote in the June 7, 2005, primary.

As of July 2005, criminal law was amended to upgrade the offense of hindering or preventing a voter from casting a vote to a third-degree crime, carrying a penalty of three to five years in state prison. At the time the indictment charges that Small engaged in this alleged conduct, this offense was a fourth-degree crime, which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in jail.

OGI State Investigator Kim Husband coordinated the investigation, assisted by State Investigator Warren Monroe, and Special State Investigators Marilyn Cichowski and Frank Gallagher. Deputy Attorney General Ronald A. Epstein presented the case to the State Grand Jury.

The indictment was handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Charles A. Delehey. The case has been assigned to Atlantic County for trial. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty..

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