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Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joe Andl. (Photo: Burlington County Democratic Committee).

Burlington Democrats call special meeting to fill county commissioner vacancy

County chairman missed February 19 deadline and will now test state law

By David Wildstein, April 20 2022 2:42 pm

Burlington County Democrats are ready to test a law that requires vacancies to be filled within 35 days when they meet on April 27 to fill a county commissioner seat.

“There will be one action item on the agenda.  That will be to seat Allison Eckel on the Burlington County Board of Commissioners to fill the vacancy left by Linda Hynes,” the meeting notice stated.

Hynes resigned in January to become a Superior Court Judge and Democratic County Chairman Joe Andl never called a special election convention to replace her.  The statutory deadline was February 19.

Republicans filed a lawsuit last month asking a judge to block the seating of a new county commissioner because Andl missed the deadline, but Superior Court Judge John E. Harrington said that case was “not ripe for adjudication at this time” and dismissed the complaint.

Eckel, a member of the Lenape Regional High School Board of Education and a 2021 Assembly candidate, is the Democratic organization candidate to replace Hynes in the upcoming June 7 primary.

Mount Holly Mayor Jason Jones is running against Eckel in the primary, but he’s on the ballot just to secure a preferential ballot position for his slate of Democratic county committee candidates.

The agenda lists one item: a “vote to seat Allision (sic) Eckel on the Burlington County Board of Commissioners.”  In addition to spelling the candidate’s name incorrectly, the agenda appears to preclude another candidate from running.  The Burlington County Demcoratic website does not mention the special election convention or a process to fill the seat.

Burlington Democrats also permit county committee members to vote by proxy, an issue that has not yet been tested by the courts.

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