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Trenton City Hall. (Photo: City of Trenton).

No new vote counts in Trenton until next week

By David Wildstein, December 15 2022 1:53 pm

The counting of ballots for two seats on the Trenton City Council where the runoff elections remain too close to call will resume at 9 AM on Tuesday, December 20, election officials told the New Jersey Globe.

In the North Ward, Jennifer Williams leads Algernon Ward by 11 votes, 401 to 390, after the December 13 runoff.  In the South Ward, Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg is ahead by 43 votes, 309 to 266, in her race against Damian Malave.

Election officials said about 20 new vote-by-mail ballots arrived on Wednesday and they have not been sorted by ward, and the ballots have not been reviewed by the Board of Elections; not all will necessarily be could.  Late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots will be counted as long as they were postmarked by 8 P on Tuesday and delivered to the Board of Elections by close of business on Monday.

The path for Malave to win is increasingly narrow.  Of the 29 uncounted provisional ballots, just eight of them are from registered voters.   In the North Ward, just one ballot out of 26 is from a registered voter.  He would have to run the table on uncounted votes.

An executive order signed by Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver last month that moved the runoff from December 6 to December 13.  Oliver also moved the deadline for municipal clerks to certify the runoff results to December 30, although that could occur as much as a week earlier.

Recounts may not be sought until the results are certified.  This could force election officials to work on New Year’s Eve Day, a Saturday.   Challenges to the election results occur after the recount.

The tightness of the election calendar creates a clear possibility that Trenton will not have a quorum to conduct business on January 1.  That could force Gov. Phil Murphy to appoint one or two city councilmembers until the outcome of the elections are final.

Trenton voters will return to the polls on January 24 when six candidates compete for three at-large city council seats in a court-mandated runoff.

The mayor, Reed Gusciora, was re-elected to a second term on November 8 with 71% of the vote.

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