Democrat Ronald Stone was on his way to the Buena Vista municipal clerk’s office on Monday afternoon to file petitions to run for township committee when he was involved in a car accident. By the time police had finished their accident investigation, the 4 PM filing deadline had passed.
Instead, Stone delivered his nominating petitions to the municipal clerk, Lisa Tilton, at 6:56 PM, just before a township committee meeting that evening. Tilton rejected the petition and also noted some repairable defects.
Stone turned to Colin Bell, a former state senator and the counsel to the Atlantic County Democrats, for help. Bell argued that the delays were caused by “inadvertent occurrences, acts of god” and asked that the deadline be waived.
“Due to an unforeseen and unfortunate event—a motor vehicle accident where he was required by law to remain on scene – Stone’s petition … was delivered … less than two hours after the statutory 4 PM deadline,” Bell wrote in his brief.
Superior Court Judge John C. Porto agreed – there was no opposition from either party — and ordered Stone to be placed on the June Democratic primary ballot.
Also on Monday, the New Jersey Division refused to accept nominating petitions for three Republican candidates in the 27th legislative district after the person delivering the petitions to Trenton faced traffic and parking challenges and arrived at 4:08 PM.
Now, State Senate candidate Irene DeVita and Assembly candidates Jonathan Sym and Mark Meyerowitz must mount a write-in campaign to get on the ballot.