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Paterson Council candidate Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Murphy says Paterson special election will be November 3

2nd Ward race ended in a tie

By David Wildstein, July 13 2020 1:23 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy today set the date of a special election for a Paterson city council seat for November 3 after the May 12 municipal election ended in a tie.

Councilman Shahin Khalique and challenger Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman are tied  at 1,730 votes each.

Paterson officials had initially said that the special election for the 2nd Ward council seat would be held between August 15-20.

Looming large in the tied election are voter fraud charges filed by the state Attorney General today against Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, and Shelem Khalique, the incumbent’s brother.

Judge Ernest Caposella refused to allow Jackson from taking office.

The special election does not necessarily create a Khalique vs. Akhtaruzzaman rematch.  City Clerk Sonia Gordon says that candidates wishing to compete in the special election would need to file nominating petitions by July 16.  It’s not immediately clear how Murphy’s executive order would affect the filing deadline.

The city council has the option of making an interim appointment to fill the seat until the results of the November special election are certified.

An appointment to the council would require five votes.  In the event of a 4-4 tie, Gordon says Mayor Andre Sayegh could break the logjam.

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