Home>Articles>Judge moves Trenton runoff election to January 24, orders at-large runoff

The famous "Trenton Makes, the World Takes" sign on the Lower Trenton Bridge connects the state's capital city with Pennsylvania. (Photo: Shutterstock).

Judge moves Trenton runoff election to January 24, orders at-large runoff

Ballots have already been cast for North and South Ward seats, creating a change in election dates after voting has started

By David Wildstein, December 02 2022 10:05 am

Trenton must hold runoff elections for three at-large city council seats after none of the candidates reached the 50% + 1 threshold in last month’s election, Mercer County Assignment Judge Robert Lougy ruled today.

Lougy has ordered a runoff election for January 24 and ordered the runoffs for the North and South Ward council seats, which had not been part of the lawsuit seeking an at-large runoff, to be held on the same day.

Voting in already underway in the North and South Ward contests after election officials began mailing vote-by-mail ballots earlier this week.   It’s not immediately clear if those ballots will be counted, although Lougy ordered a new ballot draw and the preparation of ballots that include the at-large seats.

Trenton City Clerk Brandon Garcia had certified the results of the November 8 non-partisan municipal election based on numbers provided to him by Mercer County election officials.  But on Thursday afternoon, just two hours before a court hearing was set to begin, County Counsel Paul Adezio filed a revised certification showing that the county was able to establish the total number of voters in  the at-large race.

“Per the clearest statutory command, petitioners are entitled to a runoff,” Lougy wrote in his decision.  “The delating of the runoff election affords enough time for election officials that voters across the city have fair and equal access to the right to vote.”

Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano, and Jasi Edwards, who had been declared the winners, must now face a runoff against Alex Bethea, Taiwanda Terry-Wilson, and Kadja Manuel.

This is the second change in election dates.  The runoff was originally set for December 6, but an executive order signed by acting Gov. Sheila Oliver moved it to December 13.

It’s also not clear how Trenton will handle the reorganization of their municipal government on January 1.

Mayor Reed Gusciora won in a landslide, and two ward council candidates won by enough of a plurality to secure their seats without a runoff.  But moving the North and South Ward elections to January 24 will leave the capital city’s local government without a quorum to conduct business.

Lougy has not said that the incumbents will remain in office until the runoff results are certified.

Under state law, elections must be certified thirteen days after Election Day.

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