A do-over election in Old Bridge, where the results of the November 2021 contest were invalidated after some voters received the wrong ballots, is on for March 22.
A state appellate court today affirmed the decision of Superior Court Judge Thomas Daniel McCloskey to thrown out the general election results and hold a new election, rejecting an appeal filed by Democrat Jill DeCaro.
DeCaro appeared to have defeated the Republican incumbent, Mark Razzoli, by 11 votes in the November election. But McCloskey found that 27 voters received the wrong ballots and that 17 of those voters participated in the 2021 election.
McCloskey found the state Division of Elections at fault, saying their statewide voter database didn’t properly follow boundaries set in the 2011 ward redistricting map put voters from the odd numbered homes on one side of Cymbeline Drive in Ward 2, and the even numbered homes on the opposite side of Cymbeline Drive residing in the Ward 4.
Appellate Court Judge Carmen Messano agreed with McCloskey that some Cymbeline Drive residents have been registered in the wrong ward for several years.
Messano found that facts were insufficient to reject a special election.
“The official ward map was admitted in evidence, and the judge found conclusively that the residents on that side of Cymbeline Drive are within the Fourth Ward and should have received ballots to vote in that Ward,” Messano wrote in his order. “Nothing in the record raises a material dispute to the contrary.”
Blame for the mistake rested with the Statewide Voter Registration System, McCloskey said.
But the appellate court did find that McCloskey “misapplied the law” in denying her motion to dismiss.
“However, we part company with DeCaro when she argues Razzoli’s amended complaint was inadequate, or that he was prohibited from filing an amended complaint after she filed a motion to dismiss,” Messano wrote, saying that an amended Republican filing “specifically identified the seventeen voters who cast ballots in the November 2021 election in the Second Ward, not the Fourth Ward, despite being in the Fourth Ward according to the official ward map.”
The appellate court decision came just four days after briefs were filed.