Gloucester County Republicans have filed a lawsuit alleging that the county is denying them a bipartisan county Board of Elections required by state law.
In court papers filed on Wednesday, the GOP says that the Board of Elections does not have its own employees but instead relies on a now-expired shared services agreement that uses employees from the county clerk or the Superintendent of Elections.
The county clerk, James Hogan, and Superintendent of Elections Stephanie Salvatore are Democrats.
That way, the Republicans say, Gloucester County can fund the office of Superintendent of Elections and not the Board of Elections, which is made up of two members from each party.
The lawsuit asks a judge to order the immediate funding of the Board of Elections.
Gloucester Republicans have retained one of the top election lawyers in the state, Matthew Moench, the mayor of Bridgewater and a partner at the King Moench law firm.
“This staffing arrangement was inconsistent with Title 19, as it outsourced the performance of the GCBOE’s statutory obligations, which are supposed to be conducted on a bipartisan basis, to the employees of either the Superintendent or Gloucester County Clerk, each of which are established on a partisan basis,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to Republicans, the shared services agreement expired on June 30 and that bids by the two Republicans on the Board of Elections, Carmen DiNovi and George Shivery, to hire employees wasn’t approved after a 2-2 vote along party lines.
The GOP also claimed that the county never established the deputy superintendent post, “rendering the Superintendent a partisan office without any check or balance on same.”
Republicans want a judge to order the county to release funds to staff the Board of Elections office and to stop the Board of Commissioners from funding the Superintendent’s office in lieu of the election board.