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Atlantic County Freeholder John Risley. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Risley objects to legal appeal seeking recount in Atlantic

By David Wildstein, January 10 2021 6:30 pm

Atlantic County Commissioner John Risley, who was sworn in last week after winning re-election by 380 votes, today pushed back on a recount bid by Democrat Celeste Fernandez and asked them to accept the results of the election.

“It’s time for Fernandez and the Chair of the Democrat Party in Atlantic County to stop and respect the will of the people,” said Risley. “The results of the election along with two recounts duly certified by a sitting judge, is enough.  End this insanity now.”

Fernandez is appealing a decision by Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez that ordered a small sampling of the 143,000 ballots cast to see if the results would change.  She wants a hand recount of every vote cast.

“This recount did not change the vote in any significant way,” Risley said.  “Judge Mendez, overseeing the process, certified that the recount was conducted fairly.

Risley chastised Fernandez for not offering to pay for the recount, which he says will cost over $100,000.

This is one of two election challenges in Atlantic County.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk threw out the results of the general election and set a do-over for April 20.

Republicans challenged the election after the county clerk, Democrat Ed McGettigan, failed to mail the correct ballot to 554 voters in an election decided by 286 votes.

Marczyk blocked Democrat Thelma Witherspoon from taking office.  She will face Republican Andrew Parker, an Egg Harbor Township Committeeman, in April.

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