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Senate looks to close Saudino loophole

Bill will prevent last-minute special elections after ballots are printed

By David Wildstein, October 18 2018 5:32 pm

State Senators representing Bergen County are cleaning up a flaw in state election law that forced a special election for Sheriff this year.

A bill that would push special elections for four Sheriff, County Clerk, Surrogate and Register of Deeds and Mortgages – known as Constitutional Row officers – to the following year if a vacancy occurs within seventy days of a general election.

The bill, sponsored by Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest), Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), appears to have been fast-tracked and is on the agenda for Monday’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Michael Saudino resigned last month after a tape of racist and homophobic remarks were made public.

Based on contradictory statutes, Secretary of State Tahesha Way called a special election, even after vote-by-mail ballots had already been sent out.

An existing law would have the same effect if a County Executive were to resign less than 70 days before a general election.

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