A candidate for Camden County Clerk wants the Attorney General to investigate the disqualification of nominating petitions for the June 4 Democratic primary.
Rena Margulis, who is challenging incumbent Joseph Ripa for the Democratic nomination, alleges that deputy county clerk John Schmidt treated her running mates differently than other candidates when he tossed them from the ballot after the April filing deadline.
Schmidt tossed the candidates, Jerome Taylor and Jennifer O’Donnell, saying signatures on the nominating petitions were fraudulent.
Days later, Superior Court Judge Michael Kassel dismissed a lawsuit seeing to return the challengers to the ballot.
Margulis claims an April 8 report from the Camden County Prosecutor’s office said that their “investigation yielded no finding of fraud or unlawful act by candidate Taylor”
A copy of a letter from the assistant prosecutor Lesley Sokol sent to the New Jersey Globe from Margulis does not include that language. Instead, it appears to back up Schmidt’s decision.
“This office conducted an investigation into these allegations. The investigation revealed that the signatures at lines 19 and 20 on the “H” Petition were in fact signed by the same person, Ms. Judy Robinson,” Sokol wrote. “In a tape-recorded statement, Ms. Robinson admitted to signing Hester Holloway’s name on her behalf, in Ms. Holloway’s presence.”
Sokol’s letter also says that “Ataya Pitts admitted that she signed on behalf of her mother at her place of employment, after seeking her mother’s permission to do so.”
“Ms. Pitts’ mother was not present at the time Ataya Pitts signed her name, but she was aware her daughter did so, according to Ataya Pitts’ tape-recorded statement,” Sokol wrote.
On the rejected petitions, Taylor affirmed that the petitions were signed by each of the signers.
Margulis wants the Attorney General to look at other “Camden County ballot practices and policies that disadvantage legitimate primary challengers to CCDC-endorsed candidates.”Sokol letter