Morris County Democrats are condemning County Clerk Ann Grossi for her failure to understand election law after a judge ruled that she incorrectly instructed municipal clerks on a statute that determines how a candidate gets on the ballot.
Chip Robinson, the Democratic county chairman, says that this is an unacceptable oversight “whose ignorance of the law should be disturbing to every voter in Morris County.”
“The integrity of our elections is one of the greatest aspects of American life,” said Robinson. “We need to ensure that our county clerk’s office is defending that integrity to the letter of the law.”
Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled on Thursday that Grossi “administered a memorandum that runs counter to the relevant state statute” in her instructions to 41 municipal clerks.
“The rules set in place by the Republican and Democratic party chairmen does not take precedence over the statutory requirements,” Caposela said in his ruling on a challenge of four Republican county committee petitions in Rockaway Township.
Caposela has allowed candidates for county committee to remain on the ballot in the June primary elections.
“While these four petitions do not meet the statutory requirements,” Caposela said. “The error was not the faulty of the prospective candidates, and this court seeks to implement open and fair elections to the best of its ability.”
Robinson says that Morris County Democrats will abide by Caposela’s ruling.
“Grossi’s oversight is very disturbing,” Robinson said. “We will abide by Judge Caposela’s ruling moving forward and will ensure that all Democratic candidates for County Committee obtain the correct number of signatures.”
The Morris party leader has joined Shala Gagliardi, the Democratic candidate for Morris County Clerk, in calling on the freeholders to conduct an independent audit of Grossi’s office to determine whether state election laws are being followed.
Grossi did not respond to a request for comment.