Home>Campaigns>Judge won’t stop Trenton election, but will hear complaint over runoff formula

Trenton City Council candidate Taiwanda Terry-Wilson. (Photo: Taiwanda Terry-Wilson).

Judge won’t stop Trenton election, but will hear complaint over runoff formula

City Clerk determined no runoff was necessary, but three losing candidates disagree

By David Wildstein, November 30 2022 9:43 am

A bid by three unsuccessful at-large candidates for Trenton City Council seats will get a hearing on Thursday, but their bid to halt the December 13 runoff has been rejected.

Mercer County Assignment Judge Robert Lougy today denied a bid by Kadja Manuel, Talwanda Terry-Wilson and Alex Bethea to stop election officials from printing and preparing ballots.

“The  voting is already underway and the Court has not had the opportunity to hear from Defendants,” Lougy wrote in an order.

But Lougy will hear a complaint filed by Flavio Komuves, an attorney representing the unsuccessful candidates, alleges that Garcia calculated the formula to determine runoffs incorrectly.

City Clerk Brandon Garcia determined last week that no runoff was necessary in the at-large race, with Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano and Jasi Edwards emerging as the winners.  The results of the November 8 general election were certified on Wednesday, November 23 and a ballot draw was conducted on the morning of Friday, November 25.

Komuves waited until late Monday to ask the court to shut down the election until Garcia explains how he calculated the winners, even though he could have filed his emergent application as early as last Wednesday.  Once he did file his lawsuit, he didn’t properly fill out the filing form to show the urgency of his complaint.

Following Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order moving the runoff from December 6 to December 13, Mercer County election officials commenced mailing ballots on Monday morning.

As long as one at-large council candidate clears the hurdle of 50% +1 of the votes cast, the top three vote-getters avoid a runoff.  Gonzalez received 3,675 votes, 878 more than she needed.

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