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Former Woodlynne Councilman Clyde Cook, right, with Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli. (Photo: Via Facebook)

Petition challenge knocks GOP Senate candidate off fifth district ballot

Judge invalidates seven of Clyde Cook’s signatures, dropping him below 100-vote threshold needed to run

By Nikita Biryukov, April 13 2021 5:48 pm

Administrative Law Judge Tama Hughes sustained a challenge to nominating petitions filed by a Republican State Senate candidate, knocking Clyde Cook off the ballot in the heavily Democratic fifth legislative district.

Camden County Democrats challenged 11 of the 105 signatures on Cook’s nominating petitions, charging variously that the signers did not live in the district, were not registered to vote or signed in a way that conflicted with signatures recorded in the Statewide Voter Registration System.

Hughes struck two signatures provided by individuals who were not registered to vote. In one case, there was no registered voter by the same name at a provided address. In the other, the voter’s registration was pending.

The judge invalidated four of the five signatures challenged on residency grounds. The four individuals lived in neighboring districts

Those challenges were enough to invalidate Cook’s petition, knocking him under the 100-signature threshold needed to run for legislative office in New Jersey.

The Democratic Committee had less luck challenging mismatched signatures, successfully removing just one of four signatures challenged on those grounds. That signature was said to belong to a Woodlyne voter, but it was not “even remotely similar” to his signature in SVRS or on an affidavit signed by the voter.

Cook, a former Woodlynne councilman who lost re-election last year, can still find a place on the general election ballot if he wins 100 write-in votes during the primary. Should he manage, he would face State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Barrington) in November.

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