Already hauled into court twice this year, embattled Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi is punting decisions on write-in votes for county committee to the individual municipal attorneys in all 39 towns.
Several municipal clerks have reached out to Grossi’s office seeking guidance on how to determine write-in winners in a county where 37% of all Republican county committee seats have no candidates running just a week before the top GOP county elects a new leader.
The issue is that Grossi had previously advised municipal clerks that Republican candidates needed five votes and Democrats just one – the same as needed for nominating petitions. But in April, Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled that Grossi didn’t understand state election law and ordered Morris County to follow statutory guidelines.
Several municipal clerks, anticipating write-in votes in today’s primary in districts where no candidate filed petitions, have asked Grossi for the new guidelines.
On that, Grossi, who has officially recused herself from the 2018 elections since she is a candidate for re-election, has nothing to say.
In an e-mail sent to municipal clerks at 4:16 PM on Monday – less than fifteen minutes before many of them close for the day – Deputy County Clerk John Wojtaszek sent an e-mail acknowledging that Grossi has “received numerous request for guidance concerning.”
“The Morris County Clerk’s Office strongly urge you to contact your Township Attorney for advice and guidance,” Wojtaszek said. “The Morris County Clerk’s Office neither endorses nor vouches for the accuracy of the information contained in the NJ Clerk’s Desk Reference and stresses that you must contact your Township Attorney for a definitive answer.”
To make matters worse, Wojtaszek ends his e-mail with a disclaimer: “The Morris County Clerk’s Office makes no representations, legal or otherwise, regarding the content of this communication and it should not be relied upon as providing an answer and/or legal advice. Any questions should be directed to your Municipal Township Attorney a she/she is the only person to provide guidance or legal advice.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Morris County had 41 municipalities. The number is 39.