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Egg Harbor Township Committeeman Andrew Parker

Parker files election challenge in Atlantic’s Third District freeholder race

Clerk’s ballots screw-up may have changed race results

By Nikita Biryukov, December 02 2020 9:35 pm

Republican Andrew Parker filed an election challenge after finishing in a narrow second for an Atlantic County district freeholder seat where County Clerk Edward McGettigan mailed incorrect ballots to 554 voters.

Parker, a Egg Harbor Township committeeman, finished 286 votes behind Democrat Thelma Witherspoon, 14,748-15,034, for Freeholder Ashley Bennett’s seat. Bennett did not seek re-election after ending her second-district congressional campaign.

McGettigan’s office sent 335 ballots that did not include the Third District race to 335 voters in Hamilton Township. It also sent 219 Third District ballots to voters who shouldn’t have received them.

The 418 of those ballots voters returned could shift the results of the election. The mistake led Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis to call for the clerk’s resignation.

Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman said he will oppose the move for a new election.

“We will not allow the Republicans to steal this victory from us,” Suleiman said.  “We will be fielding the strongest legal defense possible to preserve Thelma Witherspoon’s hard-fought and well-deserved victory.”

This story was update3d at 8:48 AM with comment from Suleiman.

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