Incumbent William McKoy picked up five votes in a recount of Paterson’s 3rd Ward city council race on Monday, narrowing former councilman Alex Mendez’ lead to 240 votes.
Today’s recount is the first step in an election challenge that is almost certainly headed for court.
The results of the May 12 non-partisan election have been tainted for weeks over allegations of ballot tampering that has triggered investigations by state and federal law enforcement.
McKoy picked up eight votes today, bringing his total to 1,358. Mendez gained three votes, upping his count to 1,598.
Sharrieff Bugg gained two votes in the recount and is now at 296, Robyn Spencer (118) remained the same Chauncey Brown lost one vote and is now at 42.
Nearly 900 votes that appear to have been mailed in bulk from three individual mailboxes, including more than 300 rubber-banded together form a mailbox in neighboring Haledon, have not yet been counted.
A recount is scheduled in the 2nd Ward, Councilman Shahin Khalique leads Mohammed Akhtraruzzman by 8 in, 1,729 to 1,721, with 440 vote cast for Frank Filippelli. In the Second Ward, 916 ballots out of 5,603 cast (16%) were rejected by election officials.
First Ward Councilman Michael Jackson, who was re-elected by a 245-vote margin over Nakima Redmon, 844 to 599, is also facing a recount. Mosieh Uddin finished third with 490 votes.
Passaic County Board of Elections Chairman John Currie, who also chairs the state and county Democratic parties, said on election day that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on-site investigating the Paterson balloting. Currie was on a live-stream broadcast of the count and made his comments to other election officials.
Mendez, who ran for mayor in 2018, is a former at-large councilman and political rival of Mayor Andre Sayegh. The conventional wisdom is that Mendez challenged McKoy to set up another run for mayor in 2022.