Home>Campaigns>Losers in Trenton city council race file lawsuit to halt runoff election

Former Trenton City Councilman Alex Bethea. (Photo: City of Trenton).

Losers in Trenton city council race file lawsuit to halt runoff election

Lawyer seeking emergent relief five days after results were certified — and after ballot mailing commenced

By David Wildstein, November 28 2022 7:49 pm

The fourth, fifth and sixth-place finishers in a race for three at-large seats on the Trenton City Council has filed a lawsuit  alleging that the city clerk may have improperly calculated the number of votes need to determine a runoff election.

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.

Flavio Komuves, the attorney for the allegedly unsuccessful candidates — Kadja Manuel, Taiwanda Terry-Wilson and Alex Bethea – said in court filings that he’s been asking Garcia to share his math since last week.

“The Trenton city clerk, is neglecting and refusing to provide the necessary data so the correct statutory formula can be applied and computed,” Komuves said.

Komuves claims that statute provides for an alternate way of calculating the runoff numbers and he wants a Superior Court Judge to order an immediate halt to the election until can play his theory out.

But Komuves waited until this afternoon to ask the court to shut down the election until the city clerk explained how he calculated the winners, even though he could have filed his emergent application as early as last Wednesday.

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