Home>Campaigns>Turnbach wants judge to prohibit remote voting in Ocean Democratic chairman election

Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp, left, and his opponent, former Toms River Councilman Terrance Turnbach.

Turnbach wants judge to prohibit remote voting in Ocean Democratic chairman election

Wyatt Earp., the chairman for the last 17 years, faces ex-Toms River councilman

By David Wildstein, June 23 2022 12:00 am

The race for Ocean County Democratic chairman is headed to court to stop remote voting in the June 29 election.

Terrance Turnbach, a former Toms River councilman who is challenging longtime incumbent Wyatt Earp , says that the decision to offer a remote voting option rather than in-person violates the party’s bylaws.

He wants a judge to stop county committee members from voting remotely next week and require that they be in attendance in order for their vote to count.

Remote voting has been permitted since the start of the pandemic and several other counties utilize that system.

“Remote voting is permitted at our reorganization Meeting by our bylaws. We have allowed remote voting in every county committee meeting since the pandemic began well over two years ago, without a single complaint from Mr. Turnbach or anyone else. This is a clear attempt by Mr. Turnbach to disenfranchise voters. Given the Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters across the country, maybe Mr. Turnbach should be running to be the Republican Chair.”

Over 40 county committee members have already registered to vote remotely as a result of concerns over Covid, as well as conflicting family commitments, Earp said.

At their March 13, 2022 meeting, Earp repotted multiple attendees contracted Covid, including an elderly attendee.

Earp had sought to amend the bylaws earlier this year to permit mail-in ballots, but the measure came six votes short of receiving the required approval of two-thirds of the voters.

“The chairman’s unilateral attempt to change the voting procedure in an election in which he himself is a candidate, twelve days before the election is set to take place, is a desperate and unlawful attempt to override the voices of the county committee who have already voted on this issue,” Turnbach said.  “All we are seeking is a fair election.”

The election notice from Ocean County Democrats includes eight hours of in-person voting, plus a remote option.

Earp, an international representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the president of the Monmouth-Ocean Central Labor Council, has been county chairman since 2005 following the resignation of Fred Potter.

He won the race after Pine Beach Mayor Russell Corby dropped out.

This story was updated at 9:29 AM. 

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