A second recount in Paterson’s 2nd Ward council race puts incumbent Shahin Khalique ahead by two votes, 1,730 to 1,728 against challenger Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman.
The number could return to one, depending on what a judge rules
Allegations of improprieties, including the late delivery of ballots that were cast on time by the U.S. Postal Service, could be among the factors in a contest that is certain to wind up in court.
Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposella had ordered the additional recount after the first one showed some discrepancies.
The first recount had Khalique ahead by one vote, 1,727 to 1,726.
After the May 12 election, Khalique had led by 8 votes.
A third candidate, Frank Filippelli, remains at 444 – the same as the last two counts.
In this race, 50 people who cast mail-in votes in the May 12 election had their ballots rejected because the Passaic County Board of Elections didn’t have their signatures in the database.
The 2nd Ward race is one of three council seats facing legal challenges.
State and federal law enforcement are investigating the Paterson election after nearly 900 ballots appear to have been harvested and mailed from three separate mailboxes in the all vote-by-mail election.
In one case, 2nd Ward voter Carlos A. Gonzalez told the New Jersey Globe that he mailed ballots for himself and his wife from the Woodland Park Post Office on May 12 and that both of them voted for Akhtaruzzaman.
Darlene Gonzalez’s ballot arrived at the Passaic County Board of Elections on May 20, and Carlos Gonzalez’s was delivered on June 2. Both ballots were postmarked May 12.
This story was updated at 12:46.