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Paterson Councilman Alex Mendez. (Photo: Via Facebook)

Voters could see controversial Paterson Council race run for a third time

By Nikita Biryukov, May 01 2021 7:52 pm

The Passaic County Board of Elections has acknowledged that at least 19 ballots in a do-over of a Paterson City Council race that led to voter fraud charges were cast by voters who didn’t live in the city’s Third Ward, a move that potentially triggers yet another election in a race decided by just 9 votes.

In court filings, the Board of Elections admitted a ballot cast by Thurston J. Anderson was not counted in the final tally

Councilman Alex Mendez is currently facing criminal charges for his role the May 2020 municipal election.

Menendez finished 240 votes ahead of longtime incumbent William McKoy, but Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela blocked him from taking office and ordered a new election be held.

The true result of the May 12 race, he said, was unknowable, and the move avoided a protracted legal fight.

Mendez won the second Ward 3 race, held in November, by a mere 9 votes, leading McKoy 3,769-3,760.  He was sworn in following the certification of that election.

Matthew Moensch, an attorney for Mendez, told Caposela that delays in getting information from the election board has thrown them off schedule.

“We are continuing to work with the Board of Elections to obtain supplemental discovery from them, as well as documents from the Superintendent of Elections,” Moensch wrote in a letter on Friday.  “While we expect these records imminently, we do not yet have them.”

Deputy Attorney General Eric A. Reid told Caposela that “the Superintendent of Elections is still working on producing the requested documents and should be produced today.”

Caposela could call an entirely new free-standing election, or order the non-partisan contest re-run, again, concurrent with the November general election.

Mendez was indicted in March, ten months after Attorney General Gurbir Grewal arrested him on charges of election fraud, mail-in ballot fraud, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records and falsifying records.

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