Update: Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato moderated their position slight — ““We’re keeping an open dialogue with the Clerk to ensure that voters are able to fairly exercise their right to vote in Atlantic County and have completely accessible elections. Now more than ever, while our democratic electoral system is under attack, it is critical that voters retain the utmost faith in the system. We will continue to work with Atlantic County government to meet that goal. “
Two Democratic assemblymen from Atlantic County have called for the resignation of another Democrat, Ed McGettigan, as county clerk following a major snafu in the last election that led to a judge voided the results of the District 3 race for county commissioner.
Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and John Armato (D-Buena) say that McGettigan is responsible for reducing voter confidence in elections and for a mistake that requires a new election that will cost the taxpayers around $100,000.
McGettigan mailed the wrong ballots to 544 voters in an election that was decided by 244 votes.
Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk invalidated the election and has set a do-over for April 20.
“Atlantic County should not go through another election without a change in leadership,” Mazzeo, who wants someone else to run the next election. “The issues in the recent Atlantic County Commissioners election were unfair to the candidates involved, taxpayers who will foot the bill for a new election, and every voter who cast a ballot in November. The only way to restore faith in the Clerk’s office is for Clerk McGettigan to step down and it cannot wait.”
The call for McGettigan’ s resignation by the county’s top Democratic officeholders – Republicans did this in November – sends a clear signal that McGettigan will not get party support for a re-election bid this year.
“The Atlantic County Clerk’s Office has had issues in recent years, but the recent error in the Atlantic County District 3 Commissioner election was much more severe,” Armato said. “Ed McGettigan has had a long career in public service, and we thank him for it, but he must step aside for the good of the county. I’m hopeful that a new Clerk will be able to step in, steady the ship, and allow every Atlantic County voter to have the utmost confidence in the next election.”
The Atlantic County Democratic Chairman, Michael Suleiman, criticized Mazzeo and Armato for their comments.
“I am very disappointed that Vince and John would release a public statement rather than have a private conversation with Ed,” Suleiman said. “Whether Ed runs for re-election is up to him, and whether he or someone else is our candidate for Clerk will be up to our nominating convention. As Chairman, party unity is of utmost importance to me. Disputes and conflicts should be handled directly, privately, and respectfully.”
This story was updated at 2:19 PM with comment from Suleiman.