Middlesex County Clerk Elaine Flynn today arbitrarily extended the filing deadline until 4PM tomorrow after mistakenly informing municipal clerks of the wrong date.
It is not immediately clear whether a county clerk has the legal authority to do that.
The 78-year-old Democrat sent a letter to municipal clerks about six weeks ago correctly advising them that the deadline to file for the June primary election was 64-days before the election but miscalculating that date to be April 2 – one day late.
Flynn became aware of her mistake weeks ago, but did nothing to rectify it.
It wasn’t until last Friday that Flynn notified the county counsel that she had made a mistake.
The attorney called the state attorney general’s office to ask for their advice, but the deputy attorney general who handles matters like this was out of the office. The call was not returned until today – perhaps someday technology will exist so that issues can be dealt with remotely — and the state was unwilling to take a position on the issue.
It wasn’t the state’s problem, the county was told.
So Flynn made the decision: she would simply extend the deadline until tomorrow and see what happens. Flynn figured it’s better to let someone ask a judge to remove a candidate from the ballot rather that make a candidate go to court to have their petitions accepted.
Flynn was elected in 1995, which means today was the 24th primary filing deadline on her watch – something that makes her inability to properly calculate the statutory date even more astonishing.
Before becoming county clerk, Flynn spent ten years as the Old Bridge Democratic municipal, where she faced ten filing deadlines.Elaine Flynn April 1 2019