Republican Peter Mancuso has won re-election to his Morris Township committeeman seat, defeating Democrat Bud Ravitz by just eight votes after a judge ordered 52 ballots cast for the November 5, 2019 general election to be counted.
Some of the uncounted ballots were blamed on faulty glue on the envelopes of provisional ballots.
Mancuso had begun the count with a 15-vote lead over Ravitz.
The 42 uncounted provisional ballots gave Ravitz 23 additional votes, with 18 going to Mancuso. One additional vote was not cast for either.
That reduced Mancuso’s lead to 10.
Ravitz won the uncounted vote-by-mail ballots by a 6-4 margin.
An eleventh VBM ballot where signatures did not match will not be counted. That ballot was cast by a registered Democrat, although that doesn’t mean the vote would have been cast for Ravitz.
“‘Every vote matters,’” Ravitz said. “Nothing points that out more than the 2019 race for Morris Township Committee. While the final tally didn’t go our way, it does highlight the fact that no voter should be disenfranchised … This trial was our democracy at work, and once again, points to the fact that America has always been great. Democracy works.”
This gave Mancuso, an 82-year-old Republican who has served on and off since 1978, a 3,217 to 3,209 vote victory.
“The Morris County Democrats will always stand for the proposition that everyone should have their vote counted,” said Morris County Democratic Committee Chairman Chip Robinson. “Although Bud Ravitz didn’t win this time, we are better off for having given everyone in Morris Township a chance to have their ballots counted.”
Mancuso was sworn in on January 7 and is the lone Republican on the five-member township committee.
Superior Court Judge Stuart Minkowitz ordered the remaining ballots to be counted following a settlement between the two parties this afternoon.
A trial had started last week.
This story was updated at 7:04 PM to include comment from Ravitz and Robinson.