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Lawrence Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis. (Photo: Cathleen Lewis).

Mercer Democrats hold two commissioner seats

Programming glitch disrupted county’s vote tabulations

By Joey Fox and David Wildstein, November 09 2022 12:38 am

The New Jersey Globe projects that Democrats have easily maintained their 7-0 majority on the Mercer County Board of Commissioners, with incumbent Nina Melker and Lawrence Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis winning both seats. They defeated Republicans Michael Chianese and Andrew Kotola in the strongly Democratic county.

Vote tabulations in the county were disrupted after a programming glitch rendered optical scanners at polling locations across Mercer County as unworkable. Instead, every voter is filling out a paper ballot and dropping them into the secure scanner machine storage bin.

A team of a Democrat and a Republican from the Mercer County Board of Elections are collecting the cannisters that hold the votes throughout today and are scanning them at their office.

Republican have not won a countywide election in Mercer since 2000, when County Clerk Catherine DiCostanzo won her final term.

Lewis will succeed Commissioner Andrew Koontz, who did not seek re-election.  She won the Democratic organization line on the third ballot against Elvin Montero at the party’s convention in March by a vote of 224  to 153.

Melker won her first freeholder race in 2018, after Anthony Verrelli resigned to succeed Reed Gusciora in the 15th district Assembly seat.

Wins by Melker and Lewis creates a majority-female Board of Commissioners, and with County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello and Surrogate Diane Gerofsky, a county government where women hold a majority of positions.

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