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South Hunterdon Regional High School. (Photo: South Hunterdon Regional School District via Facebook).

Appellate court refuses to stay ruling on school referendum

By David Wildstein, July 06 2022 1:58 pm

The South Hunterdon Regional School District can proceed with a $33.4 million bond issue after the state appellate court refused a bid to stay the results of a November 2021 referendum until after the appeal of the results.

A lawsuit was filed by four of the five township committee members in West Amwell and other residents challenging the results of the referendum, which was approved by voters by just two votes.

Superior Court Judge Michael O’Neill rejected a series of challenges to individual voters, largely millennials who still vote at their parents address even though they live and work out of state.  But he tossed a vote from a 93-year-old woman whose mail-in ballot was rejected because the signature didn’t match; she died a month after the election, so she couldn’t testify that the ballot was legitimate.

The appellate judges, Allison Accurso and Catherine Enright, disagreed that the opponents to the referendum had demonstrated a likelihood of prevailing in their appeal.   They found that the West Amwell plaintiffs “put forth no evidence or even any specific allegations the district engaged in illegal electioneering in support of the referendum using public monies in violation of statute.”

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