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Union County Commissioner Rebecca Williams. (Photo: Rebecca Williams).

Union County candidates appeal decision to toss them from ballot

By David Wildstein, April 22 2022 2:55 pm

Three off-the-line Democratic candidates for Union County Commissioner are appealing a Superior Court judge’s ruling that they didn’t get enough valid signatures to appear on the June primary election ballot.

Mario Cornejo, Janet Reynolds and Patrick Busch filed a notice of appeal with the state appellate court on Friday morning in an attempt to overturn Judge Alan Lesnewich’s ruling on Thursday.

Lesnewich upheld County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi’s decision to disqualify the decisions that  found 50 of the 149 signatures on their nominating petition to be invalid.

The appeal will test how quickly the appellate division can act on an emergent election petition.

Federal law requires Rajoppi to commence mailing ballots tomorrow.  The county began printing ballots after Lesnewich’s ruling and the appellate court has not yet issued a stay of the decision.

It’s not clear if the appellate court will stay the decision.  There is no public record that the case was assigned to an appellate panel.

Also unclear is the jurisdiction of a state court judge to order a delay in the mailing of overseas military ballots in a federal election year.

Lesnewich also found two additional signatures to be defective, leaving the candidates running under the “Democrats for Change” banner to be at 97 – three short of the 100 needed to secure a ballot position.

The incumbents are Bette Jane Kowalski, Sergio Granados and Rebecca Williams.

The campaign manager for Cornejo, Reynolds and Bush is James Devine, the controversial life partner of shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick.

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