Home>Campaigns>Judge orders proactive Paterson recount so voting machines will be ready for primary

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela hears a Paterson election matter on June 30, 2020. (Photo: NJ Globe via Zoom).

Judge orders proactive Paterson recount so voting machines will be ready for primary

Election officials need 146 machines for primary early voting and Election Day

By David Wildstein, April 25 2022 10:51 am

Candidates for mayor and city council in Paterson’ May 10 non-partisan election will get an automatic, free recount on May 13 that the 146 voting machines can be programmed for early voting for the June primary.

Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela approved the order today at the request of the state attorney general’s office.

State law requires voting machines to be impounded for 17 days in the event of  a recount.  That couldn’t allow election officials to convert voting machines in time for the commencement of early voting on June 3.

“There will be an inadequate period of time in which to prepare these machines for the June Primary Election, with early voting beginning on June 3,” Passaic County Superintendent of Elections Shana Mack-Pollock stated in court papers filed last week.

Passaic County does not have enough voting machines to cover both the municipal and primary elections.

It takes some time to convert voting machines from one election to another, and Caposela referred to the order as a “routine matter.”

“Machines must be checked, cleared, adjusted and tested; ballots must be inserted; the voting machines must be readied for inspection by all candidates and the municipal clerks; and, thereafter, must be timely delivered to the polling places,” Mack-Pollock explained in her filing.

The machine vote recount will occur before the deadline to receive vote-by-mail ballots mailed before 8 PM on Election Day.

This is an unintended consequence of new laws establishing early voting.  Essex County is expected to file a similar motion in Superior Court to automatically recount Newark, Irvington, Belleville and Orange, where May 10 municipal elections will be held.

Mayor Andre Sayegh faces four challengers in his bid for a second term: Alex Mendez and Michael Jackson, both city councilmen who are under indictment for voter fraud in the 2020 election; Aslan Goow, a former councilman; and Michael Jackson.

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