Judge Mendez Hearing Set For Freeholder Dist. 3 On December 11th
More Election Breaking News
As I predicted here back on November 6, 2020, New Jersey Superior Court assignment judge Julio Mendez is taking the case of Atlantic County Freeholder (District 3) Republican challenger Andrew Parker in his contest phase vs. Thelma Witherspoon.
The hearing before Judge Mendez is set for Friday, December 11, 2020.
The stakes couldn’t be any higher, with a three-year term on the Atlantic county board of chosen Freeholders hanging in the balance.
At least 554 voters were disenfranchised, when Atlantic County Clerk Ed McGettigan made a serious ballot error and omitted the 3rd district race on certain vote by mail election ballots.
The final election tally ended with 15,019 for Witherspoon and 14.730 for Parker - for a difference of only 289 votes.
You would think that when a mistake like this happens, that a new election a would be automatic. But it’s not.
Incredulously, Mendez has legal budge room in the relevant New Jersey state statute. He could decide to let this election stand and declare Witherspoon the winner.
She’s a fantastic person, but, that would not be a just decision.
The statute provides for remedy that a ballot error does not automatically result in a new election.
However, when the ballot error involves 554 disenfranchised voters, that’s a whole different story.
After an entire campaign is waged and a record turn out is achieved, it could be considered a draconian decision to throw out a certified election and order a new one.
However, McGettigan’s error is so egregious that the result of this unfortunate election would always remain in doubt.
That's not fair to the sanctity of free and fair elections.
Witherspoon makes a good point when she contends that she won Hamilton Township by a wide margin, and it is her belief that had this ballot error not happened, she would have won by even more votes.
That may or may not be true. But, we have no way to know how these 554 people would have voted.
Mendez is a good man. He's a fair man. I'm confident that he'll properly sort through all of this and do the right thing by the electorate.
They deserve nothing less.