By DON STINE
A Superior Court judge ruled Jan. 14 that between 230 to 350 voters filing vote-by-mails ballots in Asbury Park’s last municipal election will each be called to testify in court about their individual applications.
Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien ruled that the hundreds of voters will testify during a lengthy trial set for Feb. 23 through Feb. 27. It is unclear at this time how the subpoenaed voters will be brought to the county court house in Freehold.
Two candidates on the unsuccessful A-Team slate in the November election have filed the lawsuit seeking 343 vote-by-mail ballots disqualified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections to be ruled as valid.
If about 230 out of the 343 ballots in question are deemed valid, it will trigger a runoff election for the mayoral position between current Mayor John Moor and A-Team mayoral candidate Remond Palmer.
Moor easily defeated Palmer in the November election with 1,258 votes, or 54.53 percent, with Palmer getting 639 votes, or 27.7 percent.
Judge O’Brien allowed Moor to be sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1 pending the outcome of the trial.
If enough ballots are ruled as qualified, then there is also the potential for A-Team school board candidate Arva Council to be seated on the Board of Education.
“I am disappointed with the judge’s ruling and wanted to move forward and not have this hanging over our heads. The decision to reject the ballots was made by the county Board of Elections. We didn’t reject them, the board of elections did,” Moor said.
In the lawsuit, Moor said the A-Team charged that the vote-by-mail applications were only challenged by Moor in specific districts, namely on the city’s West Side community, but Moor said that is not true.
“That is totally false. We challenged applications in all nine voting districts and did not target any specific district,” he said.
Palmer could not be reached for comment.
The four-candidate Asbury Together City Council team easily swept their A-Team opponents to win four seats on the reorganized governing body, which was seated Jan. 1.
Under the city’s new form of government recently approved by voters, mayoral candidates must win with a majority of more than 50 percent of the vote to be seated.
The four -member Asbury Together City Council ticket, who ran with Moor, consists of Amy Quinn, Joseph Woerner, Jesse Kendle and Barbara “Yvonne” Clayton.
The A-Team was criticized by some residents regarding their submission of a large number of vote-by-mail ballots – an issue that came into play with the A-team in last year’s council election.