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Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk.

Judge won’t allow witness testimony in Atlantic election contest

Marczyk to issue ruling on Republican bid to stop Witherspoon swearing-in later Monday

By Nikita Biryukov, January 04 2021 11:12 am

A Superior Court judge declined to allow an expert witness to testify on the likely distribution of votes from voters who received tainted ballots in Atlantic’s third-district county commissioner race Monday.

Atlantic/Cape May County Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk ruled Democrat Thelma Witherspoon could not bring in a Stockton University political science professor to testify on the likely distribution of votes returned by Hamilton residents who received ballots lacking the third-district race and by Atlantic County residents outside of the district whose ballots included the contest.

“The voters cannot not cast a ballot,” he said. “It would not be fair, in the court’s view, for an expert to be allowed to offer an opinion as to how those disenfranchised voters would likely have voted.”

The move opposing the witness testimony was joined by the Atlantic County Board of Elections.

Witherspoon defeated Republican Andrew Parker by 286 votes, but County Clerk Edward McGettigan mailed incorrect ballots to 554 voters.

That error prompted an election challenge from Parker, who asked Marczyk to stop Witherspoon from being seated on Tuesday.

Marczyk issued no ruling on that count during the hearing but said he would issue one later Monday.

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