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Paterson Councilman Alex Mendez. (Photo: Alex Mendez via Facebook)

Mendez will remain on the ballot in Paterson, judge says

Sayegh-linked challenge to Mendez’s signatures fails

By Joey Fox, April 08 2022 4:40 pm

A challenge to Paterson Councilman and mayoral candidate Alex Mendez’s nominating petitions has failed, with a judge ruling that enough of the contested signatures were valid to keep Mendez on the ballot. The challengers, who are linked to incumbent mayor André Sayegh, have not yet announced whether they will appeal the ruling.

Mendez submitted 872 signatures to get on the May ballot, just over the threshold of 867 signatures required. Attorney Raj Parikh argued that enough of those signatures were invalid to push Mendez below the necessary number; most of Parikh’s 150 challenges were to signatures from voters who had signed multiple petitions.

According to Parikh, state law dictates that any voter who signs multiple petitions should have all of their signatures invalidated, but Superior Court judge Thomas Brogan called such a policy “nuclear.”

Mendez was the runner-up in the 2018 mayoral race, finishing with 21% of the vote to Sayegh’s 41%. Since then, Mendez has been indicted for election fraud, but he is nevertheless seen as the strongest challenger to Sayegh in this year’s election.

Also running are Councilmen Michael Jackson and Luis Velez and former Councilman Aslan Goow. Despite the potential resolution of the Mendez challenge today, ballots can’t yet be printed thanks to a separate case challenging Goow’s residency in Paterson.

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