LD24: Lonegan outlines “grave concerns” with Morris Convention

Steve Lonegan, newly-minted candidate for LD24 State Senate, says he is harboring “grave concerns” heading into the upcoming Morris County GOP nominating convention.

Lonegan outlined his concerns in a February 21st letter to Morris GOP Chairwoman Laura Ali shared with Save Jersey.

“Without fair and clean elections relying upon the secrecy of the ballot and the rights of candidates to fully observe the election process, Americans who cherish individual liberties will lose any hope of combatting the ever-growing power of the Leviathan,” wrote Lonegan.

The former gubernatorial candidate and AFP-NJ chieftain is facing off with outgoing Assemblyman Parker Space for the Senate seat of the retiring Steven Oroho.

A 4:07 request for comment from Chairwoman Ali had not yet been answered as of this writing.

Lonegan’s letter is reposted below:

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Dear Chairwoman Ali,

As you surely know, election integrity is one of the most important issues facing America.

Among the primary concerns raised by Republicans is the growing use of electronic voting machines and mail in voting.  A recent Rasmussen poll found that 54% of Republicans distrust voting machines while Pew Research found that only 37% of Republicans are confident mail in votes are properly counted.

New Jersey Republicans have especially good reasons to be concerned:

  • In 2008, Princeton professor Andrew Appel hacked into an electronic voting machine in a Superior Court hearing and changed the votes on the machine in the presence of a judge.
  • In 2011, an election in Cumberland County was overturned in Superior Court when it was discovered that the names of the candidates were inversely matched inside the machine so that votes cast for one set of candidates were actually applied to their opponents.
  • In the 2021 Republican Primary, Essex County officials reported that 12 Republicans voted in person in Montclair’s Ward 3, District 4 but when the election was certified, they reported that supposedly no votes had been cast on the voting machines.
  • And, in the last few weeks, it has been discovered that an election in Monmouth County this past November was falsely certified as hundreds of votes were double-counted by the machines.

Unfortunately, Morris County Republicans won’t be surprised to know that the machines used in Monmouth County are the same ES&S voting machines used in Morris County which led to long lines and malfunctions in towns such as Chester and Roxbury during the recent General Election.

Republicans have long labored for election integrity and have made it a part of our national platform.  In fact, the 2016 platform which was readopted in 2020 reads in part,

We urge state and local officials to take all appropriate steps to allow voters to cast their ballots in a timely manner. We are concerned, however, that some voting procedures may be open to abuse. For this reason, we support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws. In addition, to guarantee that everyone’s vote is counted, we urge that electronic voting systems have a voter-verified paper audit trail.

For these reasons, I have grave concerns about the upcoming Morris County Republican Convention.

First and foremost, I understand that the Rules provide for multiple forms of voting from mail in voters, in-person voters using electronic voting machines, in-person voters using an app on their phone, and off-site voters using an app on their phone.

This scheme makes it impossible for Paragraph 7 of the Rules concerning day-of, in-person registration to be fully enforced for those not present or those who have previously voted in some other capacity.

Likewise, Paragraph 11, Section (b) of the Rules appropriately provides that “Members must present a valid government issued photo identification. [sic]”   However, this also becomes unenforceable to the extent voters do not show up to vote in person.

Moreover, Paragraphs 8 and 14 of the Rules provide for Observers representing each candidate to be present at the registration table and the counting of votes.  This also becomes ineffectual with respect to those not present for registration or for voting and for the so-called “counting” of votes submitted on the smartphone app

Perhaps most shockingly, Paragraph 11, Section (a), Subsection (vi) purports to provide for a secret ballot but actually allows “that information about the votes or contents of completed ballots may be incidentally revealed to MCRC Counsel and/or other persons assisting with the voting process.”

The idea that a County Republican organization would permit anything other than a completely secret ballot by allowing party bosses and establishment insiders to know who individual county committee members voted for is appalling.

And the idea that the Convention would be conducted with only a *partial* voter-verified paper audit trail is shocking.  (Indeed, Republican legislators in at least six states have introduced legislation to conduct elections without the use of inscrutable voting machines at all.)

In total, these Rules and procedures seem wildly convoluted for an organization of only 800 or so voters, not all of whom are even likely to participate given the controversy and uncertainty associated with the 2022 Convention.

In fact, of the approximately 105 Morris County Committee members in LD24, I had the chance to speak with over 90 of them while collecting signatures for my petitions and 85 of them signed to allow me to participate.  But many of them also expressed strong skepticism for the Convention process.

Given our Party’s long-standing commitment to fair, open, and honest elections as well as the energy and enthusiasm among the base to simplify our election process, I encourage you to reconsider the planned conduct of the upcoming convention.

For example, a far more straightforward and transparent process would be for all participating voters to register in person on the day of the Convention, to be given a color-coded, voting authorization card corresponding to one of the four (4) Legislative districts, and for the authorization cards to be turned in for corresponding paper ballots which are then counted in the presence of observers appointed by each candidate.  At the end of the day, the number of registrations will reconcile with the number of authorization cards distributed and ballots counted.

Our internal Republican party elections provide an opportunity for us to set an example for election integrity rather than mimic the conduct of the Democrat designed elections that have left us with such distrust in the electoral process.

Morris County can and should set the standard for election integrity rather than nonchalantly adopting rules and procedures that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Phil Murphy would be proud of and that would make Hudson County Democrats blush.

Acquiescing to the all-too-common go-along-to-get-along attitude in our electoral process is not an option.  In other aspects of our society, it has even led to once unthinkable mandates that violate our medical freedom, groom our schoolchildren with sexual propaganda, and may soon lead to trackers being placed in our cars to count the miles we drive — to name but a few.

Without fair and clean elections relying upon the secrecy of the ballot and the rights of candidates to fully observe the election process, Americans who cherish individual liberties will lose any hope of combatting the ever-growing power of the Leviathan.

Because it’s my understanding that the Rules which have been circulated are merely proposed rules which have yet to be adopted by the members of the County Committee at the Convention, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further and work with your Committee to ensure the integrity of the 2023 Morris County Republican Convention is beyond reproach.

Very respectfully, 

Steve Lonegan

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.