The Dover municipal clerk has tossed a candidate for alderman from the ballot because he didn’t use his full, legal name, leaving no candidate for the post in the June primary.
Tara Pettoni had originally certified the nominating petition of Marcos Tapia, but removed him from the ballot yesterday because his legal name is Marcos S. Tapia-Aguilar, Sr.
Pettoni said in an e-mail hat she checked the voter registration database and found that the candidate’s son, Marcos Tapia-Hernando, is also registered to vote from the same address.
“Since both you and your son are well known in the community, it is my opinion that a voter would not know which ‘Marcos Tapia’ was being nominated or voted for,” Pettoni said.
Tapia’s attorney, Scott Salmon, said that Pettoni’s actions “appears to be biased and politically motivated.”
The issue could wind up in court, unless Pettoni backs down. The drawing for ballot position is on Friday and ballots will be printed after that.
Pettoni was hired by Mayor James P. Dodd, and Tapia is part of a different faction of the Dover Democratic party.
“This is not the first time the Dodd Team has attempted to disenfranchise me. First, I was wrongly accused of participating a voter fraud scheme and was vindicated in court after a 4-day trial last year. Now, there is an attempt to remove me from the electoral process as a candidate,” said Tapia. Why is Mr. Dodd and his team so afraid to simply let the voters decide who ought to govern our community?”
In a letter to Pettoni, Salmon notes numerous precedents of candidates running for office without using their full, legal name, including Bill Bradley and Jimmy Carter. He notes the confusion in the 25th district, where Anthony Bucco ran for State Assembly in the same district where his father, also Anthony Bucco, was a state senator.
“This is not just a fight to get Marcos Tapia’s name on the Primary ballot; rather, this is a fight for the basic principles of democracy,” said Dover Democratic municipal chairman Edward Correa. “I call upon all of the people of Dover to unite and stand up to institutional misuse of power.”Scott Salmon to Tara Pettoni Dover april 2019