Home>Campaigns>Hillsborough recount looks unlikely, but judge will give Democrats a few more days to show why

Judge Kevin Shanahan. (Photo: New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts).

Hillsborough recount looks unlikely, but judge will give Democrats a few more days to show why

Shanahan says Murray needs to offer evidence that tally could be wrong

By David Wildstein, December 14 2022 5:58 pm

A Superior Court Judge appears reluctant to order recount in a race for the Hillsborough Township Committee, where Republican Robert Britting defeated Democrat Erynn Murray by 46 votes in a race for a 25-month unexpired  term.

“I have to be perfectly honest, I haven’t heard of anything today which would suggest there’s a reason to believe that that under the statute, that recount is required,” Somerset County Assignment Judge Kevin Shanahan said in a short court hearing today.

Shanahan appears to support a conservative interpretation of a statute that requires reasons to that the initial count certified by county election officials was tainted, since New Jersey law does not allow automatic recounts, but he gave the attorney representing Murray, Paul Swanickie, until Friday to submit his reasons for the recount request on the record.

Swanickie cited voting machine problems.

“You’re going to have to give me some credible, objective reason to believe there’s evidence, or some irregularity, some reason to believe that there were enough votes in this time period, assuming that there’s something wrong with the emergency ballots where they don’t exist In order for me to determine that a recount is required,” Shanahan said.  “Just so you know, I don’t see it right now, but I’ll give you that opportunity.”

Deputy Attorney General Debra Allen opposed the Hillsborough recount, but has no objection to one in Raritan, where a Democrat won by seven votes.

Swanickie suggested that a margin of 46 votes in Hillsborough, where about 15,000 votes were cast, was statistically similar to a 7-vote margin in Raritan, where there were roughly 2,423 voters.

“It would seem to me that the only reason that the Board of Elections is contesting this vote is because a bigger a bigger area and it’s going to take them quite a bit more time to be able to count the votes in Hillsborough than Raritan,” Swanickie said.

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