Two Republican Assembly candidates in the 38th district who began an electronic transmission of nominating petitions at 3:23 PM on Monday but didn’t finish until after the 4 PM filing deadline had passed will be able to get on the ballot.
That puts Alfonso Mastrofilipo and Gerald Taylor in the ballot against incumbents Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield) and Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn).
Administrative Law Judge Andrew M. Baron ruled today that the beginning of the filing process 40 minutes before the deadline was “the equivalent of the example cited on the Secretary of State’s website of ‘being in the building’ and/or being on line to vote when the polls close, but still being allowed to vote.”
“Although not completed by 4:00 PM, petitioners substantially complied with the filing process, and should not be penalized by not having their names on the ballot as a result of a technical computer issue the essence of which required them to re-scan and resubmit an extensive amount of documents electronically,” the judge said in his decision.
Baron acknowledged that the prospect of giving Tully and Swain a free pass in the general election helped him decide.
“Were this rejection of these petitions to stand, it would result in an uncontested election for the State Assembly in the 38th legislative district, depriving the citizens who reside there a choice, which violates the spirit and intent of the law and democracy in New Jersey,” Baron wrote.
The Division of Elections had initially rejected petitions for Mastrofilipo and Taylor.
Mastrofilipo is a Lodi school board member.