Small's attorney says the councilman was never told he was a target of the investigation into his failed mayoral campaign.
Small is one of a dozen defendants accused of trying to swing the June 2009 Democratic mayoral primary through the use of fraudulent absentee ballots.
Jury selection in the case began Monday.
Prosecutors say "autograph parties" were held in which absentee ballots were steamed open and replaced or destroyed.
Small turned down a plea deal that likely would have had him out of prison after a year and a half.
Information from: The Press of Atlantic City, http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com